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Caring for carers – not just for Christmas

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Talented chefs have joined Slow Food Chef Alliance to promote taste, better food, which is made using local & seasonal produce. The last Christmas blog provided good suggestions for a hearty delicious festive meal. The reality is that not all of us can choose what to have for Christmas.

Slow Food Chef Alliance  member Colin Hinds has been closing the doors of his award winning restaurant Kilted Lobster for the last three years on Christmas Day in order to support a great charity Appetite for Change run by Eileen Inglis. Her views are to support people suffering from loneliness and food insecurity. One of the ways to support people is to invite people to enjoy good food together.  Young carers in Edinburgh and their families have been invited for Appetite for Change Christmas Meal this year. There are approximately 16,500 young carers in Scotland looking after their loved ones. Young carers gain great skills as they take on extra responsibilities at home, but not without having a great impact in school and in their lives. This is what Siobhan said about her own experience as young carer:

“Being a young carer, there is no time to have a childhood. It’s like living in “dog years,” you grow up much quicker than everyone else your own age. I feel as if my life has been much longer than it actually has, I have brought up a family from the age of 8.

It is incredibly hard to combine family commitments, school, friends, and being just a child.

This Christmas, these children will be cared for: the table will be set, meal cooked and served. All they will need to do is to have a great time with their family.

But life continues after Christmas and Chef Alliance member Colin committed to make a difference in their lives. Since 2017, he has been preparing a delicious packed lunch for young carers in Edinburgh on a daily basis. Caring for carers, not just for Christmas.

I asked Colin the reasons for doing this. “I do this because it is important to help those who are perhaps in a difficult time or those who need a little support from the community and new friends. Scotland has a rich history of looking after each other and I would like to follow that tradition we are known of: a hospitable Scotland.”

Appetite for Change – Christmas special is a success because of the collaborative work between  Colin Hinds and Donna McArdle – director of The Real Junk Food Project, and helpful volunteers.

“Good food should be not for just some, good food should be for all.” – commented Chef and proprietor of Café St Honore – Slow Food Chef Alliance Member – Neil Forbes.

What are you doing for Christmas? If you are having a Christmas meal with your family, knock on the door and grab an extra chair and invite your neighbour to join you, if you can. If you are cooking with friends, share with one more friend. Nothing better than sharing food, having people at the table and enjoying a good conversation. I am getting my apron ready and helping Eileen, Colin and Donna and together we will make this Christmas meal very special for young carers. I am raising the glasses for the ones who look after each other. Have a merry Christmas everyone!

Vivian Maeda, Slow Food Chef Alliance Coordinator for Scotland.

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