Hundreds of disabled people empowered to cook thanks to 100 inclusive kitchens

Neil and Matthew explore the new kitchen

Hundreds of disabled people across the country can enjoy the many benefits of cooking after 100 new inclusive kitchens were fitted at Leonard Cheshire Disability services.

Donated by kitchen and appliances manufacturer Howdens Joinery, these kitchens improve disabled care home residents’ and day centre users’ well-being and help them live more independently. These inclusive kitchens provide easy access to cabinets, lower worktops for sinks and preparation areas, and raised plinths to allow wheelchair plates to pass below.

41 year-old Karen Watson from a Leonard Cheshire care home in Yorkshire is one of the many disabled people to have benefited from these kitchens.

She said:

“I struggle with my disability every day and find baking a great way to improve the mobility in my arms. For me it’s like occupational therapy in that it keeps my hand movement going. At first I struggled to maintain a grip on items, but I’m building strength now.”

The 100th inclusive kitchen was officially opened on Wednesday 5 July at the Leonard Cheshire run care home, the Manor, in Brampton, Cambridgeshire. The intimate ceremony was attended by Leonard Cheshire chief executive Neil Heslop and Howdens’ chief executive, Matthew Ingle.

Neil Heslop said: “Howdens have been with us for a long time and have supported us in so many different ways with our Can Do volunteer programme, our international work and in donating inclusive kitchens, which is what we celebrate today.

“Marking the centenary anniversary of Leonard Cheshire’s birth with the 100th inclusive kitchen donated by Howdens to our services in the UK is particularly special. I would like to say a massive thank you to Howdens for all of their support.”

Matthew Ingle said:

“From Howdens’ point of view, we are here to help in any way we possibly can. And we’re proud to be associated with such a fine organisation which has got such a great history.”

Jeanette Whitbread, service manager at The Manor care home, said:

“Having a fully accessible kitchen for our service users is extremely important for their independence. They can now join in on all aspects of the kitchen: from preparing a meal, to cooking it, eating in it and of course the washing up!

“If it wasn’t for the partnership with Howdens, we never would have been able to make the wishes of the service users a reality. I couldn’t begin to describe the hours of freedom and joy and the levels of independence this kitchen will bring to our residents.”

The Manor care home residents present at the event were eager to try out the new kitchen. Katherine Bissett, 68, said:

“Now I’ll be able to prepare my own meals and eat when I want to.”

Isabella Wiltshire, 70, said:

“The new kitchen will enable me to cook like I did when I was at home before my stroke.”

Leonard Cheshire Disability is the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of services for disabled people. Our services include high-quality care and community support together with innovative projects supporting disabled people into education, employment and entrepreneurship. Worldwide, our global alliance of Cheshire partners supports disabled people into education and employment, and works in more than 50 countries. Visit: www.leonardcheshire.org or follow us on Twitter: @LeonardCheshire.

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