David Meade in Derry to back recipe for tackling childhood obesity

International mind reader David Meade headed into the kitchen in Derry recently to help cook up a new project tackling childhood obesity.

Wednesday, 14th June 2017, 10:58 am
Updated Thursday, 15th June 2017, 2:38 pm
Entertainer David Meade joined the team from the Old Library Trusts SWEET Programme and tech company Learning Pool to create an e-learning tool to help tackle childhood obesity as part of the Social Innovation NI Techies in Residence Programme, funded by the Building Change Trust and managed by Innovate NI. Pictured with David Meade are Arlene Mooney from Learning Pool, SWEET team Julie White and Patricia Mahon, Connor Doherty Innovate NI, Brian McDermott from the Foodovation centre and George McGowan from the Old Library Trust.

The former food professional turned celebrity joined the team from the Old Library Trust’s SWEET Project, which is developing a digital initiative that has the potential to transform the lives of thousands of children in the north.

Through the Social Innovation NI Techies in Residence Programme, funded by the Building Change Trust and managed by Innovate NI, the Old Library Trust is being supported by elearning provider Learning Pool to develop an online resource that could ultimately reach a huge number of families.

David Meade was asked to narrate the cookery demonstration and joined the team to film at North West Regional College’s Foodovation Centre to cook up a healthy chicken curry, and fresh food for a children’s party.

He said: “I’ve enjoyed a great partnership with Learning Pool over the last three years, and jumped at the chance to get involved in their Techies in Residence programme with the SWEET Project.

“ As a former food professional myself, and a busy dad, I understand implicitly the importance of nutritional balance in our diet. This programme has a very real opportunity to make a huge impact to the communities and families involved,” he added.

The Old Library Trust is funded by the Public Health Agency and has been working with families across the Western Health Board area for the past five years to assist in the prevention and management of childhood obesity through the promotion of healthy eating, regular exercise and spending quality time together as a family unit.

By concentrating on making small changes, choosing healthy options, cooking fresh food, understanding food labels and portion sizes the Old Library Trust has helped more than 1,000 families.

However, funding and staffing capacity have restricted the number of people that the organisation can reach.

“Our workshops have always been delivered face to face in a classroom environment to small groups of families but this new e-learning platform has the potential to help a huge number of people,” said George McGowan from the Old Library Trust.

The new e-learning tool has been presented before an expert panel in a bid to secure up to £15,000 further funding from Social Innovation NI to help them on the next step of development.

Speaking about the project, Arlene Mooney from Learning Pool said: “This was a very interesting project for our team at Learning Pool to work on. We were able to transform The Old Library Trust’s classroom learning into a digital version that shows the day in the life of a busy parent and how they can make small changes that will have a big impact on children.

“Now the digital tool will be tested with a view to rolling it out to a wider audience.”

For more information on the programme go to www.socialinnovationni.org/techies-in-residence/.