EAST London Vision has run cooking courses to give blind and partially sighted people the skills and confidence needed to cook healthy meals.

Sixteen service users participated in the six week beginner and advanced cooking courses, which were run in conjunction with Made In Hackney as part of East London Vision (ELVis’) Healthy Body Healthy Mind project, from June to August.

The course helped participants gain the confidence needed to use cooking equipment such as knives and hot saucepans in a safe environment and helped people discover that they were still able to prepare fresh meals despite their sight loss.

The group had the opportunity to make a variety of easy but healthy meals ranging from vegetable ratatouille to black bean chili chocolate cookies.

ELVis Chief Executive Masuma Ali, who attended the beginner sessions, said it was great to see how much attendees benefited from the course and how it built their confidence to try the recipes for themselves at home.

“Many people losing their sight believe that they are unable to continue to do lots of the things they did when they had sight and preparing meals is just one of them,” Masuma said.

“It was fantastic getting people to use knives and chopping vegetables for the very first time after having lost their sight and for there to be a delicious meal at the end of it to tuck into.”

Participant James Murray said the cooking sessions were very enjoyable and he looked forward to them each week.

“They were informative, welcoming and everything was explained in an easy to understand manner,” James said.

“The course has changed the way I now make salads as they are much more interesting and tastier!”

ELVis received a grant for its Healthy Body Health Mind project from Hackney Council’s Healthy Neighbourhoods project.