Recipe for success: how food is helping young people connect with the elderly on our National Citizens Service project

 In BTEC Courses, News

Students from our BTEC programme took part in a unique cooking lesson with Age UK on Monday. The boys, who are completing their Football and Education BTEC programme at West Thames College in partnership with the Trust, swapped footballs for cutlery as they cooked a meal for elderly residents at Brooklands College in Weybridge.

The event was part of the students’ National Citizens Service (NCS) programme, which aims to provide young people with important life skills. The four-phase programme includes a social action project and students earmarked a cooking project as their chosen project.

The students cooked a meal for two groups from Age UK; an Asian women’s group and a ‘vintage’ 85-100yrs group.

With over half of all people aged 75 and over living alone, this project shows the benefits of an intergenerational project – helping to tackle social isolation amongst older people.

Benjamin Grummit, a student on the BTEC programme helped project manage the event. Talking about his experience of the project, he said:

“A project like this shows us different aspects of life that we haven’t had the opportunity to explore – I feel like I have gained important organisational skills that will help me in the future.”

Benjamin is just one of 31 students taking part in NCS, which offers 15-17 year-olds a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only better themselves, but to make a real difference in their local community. Run in partnership with the English Football League Trust, the programme has already supported 11,000 young people since 2011 across the country.

Working with charities such as Age UK, the programme has an important social purpose.

Hansa Darbar, Business Development and Events Manager for Age UK, said:

“The intergeneration activities can bridge the gap between the young and the elderly. All the elderly people involved in the lunch enjoyed having the NCS students with them.”

“Plus, this project has a real benefit for the students involved – helping them to develop lifelong skills for their future careers.”

Chris Barrett, Education Manager for Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said:

“The many positive comments from the Age UK groups demonstrate the power of the programme and we look forward to building on this success next year.

“A special mention to Brooklands College, who kindly offered their facilities for this fantastic event.”

For more information about NCS, visit

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