Soup-a grans looking to cook up a storm with their work on estate

Phil McGrath and Audrey Jolly with the team of Soup-a-grans.
Phil McGrath and Audrey Jolly with the team of Soup-a-grans.
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A team of ‘soup-a grans’ are helping to make a difference to their community in North Shields.

Kind-hearted older residents in Meadowell are learning new employability skills and helping vulnerable pensioners by providing food, companionship and a caring eye.

Meadowell estate’s community development charity The Cedarwood Trust is working with a team of ‘soup-a-grans’, who are all aged over 50 and long-term unemployed.

Each will receive training in health and safety, food hygiene, cookery skills and employability.

Once fully trained, the small team will cook food and distribute it to the more vulnerable residents of the estate.

In addition they will spend time with the person to ensure that they are safe and well and to offer a hand of friendship too.

Trust chief executive Phil McGrath said: “This unique project came about from the results of our healthy eating programme where our older residents said they wanted to develop themselves and support older people in our community too.

“This is about giving people the skills they need to succeed, building confidence and helping others less fortunate than ourselves.”

The oldest volunteer, Audrey Jolly, 86, said: “It’s a great feeling to be one of the ‘soup-a-grans’. I’m really looking forward to putting my new skills to good use.

“There are a lot of lonely and vulnerable people that we can help and I’m sure that this scheme will make a big difference to everyone involved.”

‘Soup-a-grans’ are not the only heroes on the estate. Mr McGrath lives in the north west and commutes hundreds of miles every week.

“I’m not really a hero,” he said. ”I’ve just got a real passion and commitment for the people of this estate.”