It all came together when a cooker stopped working.
‘Women Together - Rosemount’ was founded just over three years ago. It’s essentially made up of a group of local women who try out different activities and by complete accident they came up with the idea of hosting a healthy ‘Come Dine With Me’ event in Rosemount.
“We were all taking part in a healthy cooking event in Rosemount Resource Centre when the cooker stopped working,” said local woman Siobhan Hamilton.
“One of the women in the group lives just around the corner so we lifted all of our stuff and went to her house.
“It was an amazing night and we all enjoyed ourselves - it was then that we thought it would be a great idea to host our very own ‘Come Dine With Me’ event in the centre - the cooker held up this time,” laughed Siobhan.
The ‘Come Dine With Me’ event took place on Monday evening and on the menu was healthy chicken and vegetable curry and half-fat Eton mess.
“Because there is so many of us my daughter, Debbie Kelly and Marie Mooney cooked the food,” explained Montrose Gardens woman Margaret Love.
“I am not just saying this because Debbie is my daughter but the food was absolutely lovely. The curry was nice and spicy and the Eton mess was the nicest I have ever tasted - it was a great night’s fun.”
Siobhan, who lives in the Village area of Rosemount, said that the healthy cooking classes and the ‘Come Dine With Me’ event changed the way she thinks about how she prepares her food.
“The best money I spent in years was when I went to TK Maxx and bought a wok - they are great for cooking healthy stir-fries. Two of my daughters are at ‘Slimming World’ and as a result of the healthy cooking classes I am able to help them with preparing healthy meals,” she smiled.
The healthy cooking classes (known as ‘Cook It’) and the ‘Come Dine With Me’ event were facilitated by Roxanne Nixon (Health Development Worker - Neighbourhood Health Improvement Project N.H.I.P.) and Margaret Cunningham (Habinteg Housing). They are part of a nine week programme aimed at raising awareness of both physical and mental health.
In previous weeks the women were able to avail of health check from a trained nurse and in the coming weeks they will receive information about drug and alcohol misuse as well as complementary therapies at the end of the project.
Roxanne Nixon said that working with the women was the one of the most enjoyable experiences she’s ever had during her time with N.H.I.P. and explained that she would like to work with the group again in the future.
“I work part-time with N.H.I.P. and while a lot of the work I was doing with ‘Women Together - Rosemount’ was after hours I didn’t even notice it because I was enjoying it so much.
“The whole ethos of the project comes straight from N.H.I.P. because whilst it’s important that everyone taking part has a good time it’s just as important that we get the healthy message across.
“Margaret Cunningham showed the women how to cook certain meals in a more healthy way. One of the lessons both they and I learnt was that cooking with something like olive oil is much healthier than using butter or margarine.Margaret also taught the women about portion control and the nutritional value of their food.
“It was a great project and I am delighted that the N.H.I.P. was able to be a part of it.”
N.H.I.P. has projects all over the North West, including Derry, Strabane and Limavady. At the end of this month all of the different projects will come together in Shantallow Community Centre to showcase the work they have been carrying out in their respective communities.
“We brought in a camera crew for the ‘Come Dine With Me’ event and the footage of the women cooking will be included in a DVD to be launched at the showcase event in Shantallow on February 28 - we are all really looking forward to that,” explained Roxanne.
For more information on N.H.I.P. contact Roxanne on 02871 271 977 or for more on ‘Women Together Rosemount’ telephone the Rosemount Resource Centre on 02871 282 829