Healthy Valleys Nourish and Natter Case Study

In 2019, Healthy Valleys received a grant from the Small Ideas, Big Impact Fund to support the set-up of 'Nourish & Natter', a social food club for older adults that also investigates and influences eating habits in later life.

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Scotland, Healthy Valleys received additional emergency funding to help adapt their project.

Barbara from Healthy Valleys tells us about their response to COVID-19 through 'Nourish and Natter', and the impact this fantastic project has had on reducing social isolation and enhancing health and wellbeing with the older people they work with:

"COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our older people, many of whom are in our most vulnerable groups and cannot leave their home or see their friends and family, causing increased levels of loneliness and isolation. Our social groups and Nourish and Natter club has had to stop abruptly leaving an increased risk of individuals not eating properly or lacking motivation to 'cook for one'".

With a view to combating some of the effects that COVID19 has brought us, we have responded by ensuring every older adult receives a regular phone call from a volunteer. This call serves as a check in to make sure everything is ok, allowing us to signpost to relevant support agencies where required. The call also offers an older person a chance to relax and chat within a supportive relationship - something to look forward to and break up their week. Our funding from Eat Well Age Well has allowed us to send 4 snack boxes to all our older people that require support with their eating. Within the boxes are a variety of healthy snacks designed to stimulate appetite and provide a 'quick hit' or nourishment. Delivery of boxes coincide with a phone call to allow conversation about diet and nutrition and encourage increased healthy eating.

Our older people have really enjoyed receiving their boxes:


"Our work around food and nutrition has thrown up the challenge of providing healthy and appropriate snacks for diabetics who account for nearly 20% of our older people. We have been able to consult with Eat Well Age Well about this who have been able to offer advice on what can be included in the packs that will provide a healthy and nutritious snack that are safe for diabetics."

"We do not know what the future will hold as we start to move out of lockdown. We are busy making plans about how we can safely increase contact for both our older people and our volunteers- the majority of whom are older themselves. We have learned that our older people particularly enjoy receiving items through the post and we will continue this whilst they remain at home. Another point of learning is the significant percentage of our older people who are diabetic - this is an area that we would like to give more attention to in our work around food and nutrition. We are also contemplative that although these are difficult times, there are positives to be found around the increased number of isolated older adults who are coming to our attention and whom we have been able to support not only now - but going forward - helping them to transform their lives when we would otherwise probably never have been aware of them".






Jack's Story

"Our work around food and nutrition has thrown up the challenge of providing healthy and appropriate snacks for diabetics who account for nearly 20% of our older people. We have been able to consult with Eat Well Age Well about this who have been able to offer advice on what can be included in the packs that will provide a healthy and nutritious snack that are safe for diabetics."


"I look forward to his call. It's the highlight of my week."

Our volunteer Stewart supports other isolated older men and has made arrangements with both men to meet up once the Lockdown is over and go for a meal at a local café once a week which will benefit Jack even further by getting him out of the house, meeting new people and enjoying a nutritious meal with company.

Without Covid19, we would not have been aware of Jack's situation. Jack would probably have continued his isolated lifestyle, not seeing or talking to many people. Jack now has a call to look forward to, has formed a new friendship and has something positive to look forward to once lockdown is over. The tremendous community spirit that we see much more of now during these difficult times identified Jack to us and enabled us to adopt a peer friendship approach that otherwise he would not have been part of.