Free healthy cooking classes aiming to unite men in Buncrana 

A FREE healthy food cooking class is being offered to men in Buncrana following the success of a similar programme involving 15 men in Greencastle.

Sláintecare Healthy Food Made Easy Programme, which is co-ordinated locally through Inishowen Development Partnership in Buncrana, offers participants the opportunity to learn basic nutrition as well taking part in enjoyable cooking classes with a healthier theme.

Community Food and Nutrition Officer with IDP Niamh Britton has been rolling out the healthy cooking classes since she joined last April and, in the autumn last year the men’s class really took off in Greencastle.

15 local men came together for the six-week programme and Niamh couldn’t have been happier with the results.

 “I’m really proud of how the men’s healthy cooking class developed in Greencastle,” said Niamh.

“ We had men from different backgrounds and with different cooking abilities but that didn’t matter they all worked together and really enjoyed the classes.”

One of the participants, Robert John McLaughlin said he learned a lot of healthy life changing tips by taking part in the programmes.  

“I learned that too much butter is bad for your cholesteryl and on why it is important to cut back on sugar,” said Robert John.

Moville man Martin Moir got involved in the Sláintecare funded programmes in Greencastle after Michael [McDermott] from the Moville Family Resource Centre recommended it.

“The class has been great – it has motivated me to cook more and healthier food at home. I have been referred to see a dietician and this class has been good at giving me healthy tips,” he said.

Similarly local man David Simpson enjoyed the social aspect of the classes as much as the cooking.

“I signed up for the Healthy Food Made Easy cooking class I was interested in learning more about cooking in a healthier way. However, it was social aspect of the class that was most rewarding for me.

“This is a great inclusive class for men of different abilities, and it was lovely to see men connecting with other men with disabilities. They said they have never seen a class gel so well. Everyone was very respectful of each other,” said David.

“I think men feel at their most comfortable when they are doing something practical. We all really enjoyed the cooking and to have 15 men here every week was great to see. People came from different places, but we worked together and made friends. There was a lot of openness, and it was great to be part of that,” added David.

Participants of the HFME mens class in Greencastle Community Centre along with facilitator Niamh Britton[IDP]

IDP, in collaboration with Sláintecare healthy community and Changemakers Donegal then developed a pilot project to help reduce food waste at home that aims to manage food waste in a better more sustainable way. “Food waste is a global issue with more than one quarter of the produced being wasted,” explained Niamh.

Having done the Healthy Food Made Easy Programme, the men in Greencastle decided to stick together to take part in this new course. Robert John tells us “The class was good fun, and I made a lot of friends. I am looking forward to taking part in the food waste course now.”

According to Martin “It was the social side of the class I enjoyed the most. There was great craic every week with the other men, and it was an overall very positive experience. I would definitely recommend that other men take part in future cooking courses with Niamh and IDP.”

With this in mind, Niamh has another men only Healthy Food Made Easy cooking class planned for the Buncrana area, giving men in South Inishowen the chance to get involved in the classes. Starting on Tuesday March 28th the cookery programme will run for six weeks from Tullyarvan Mill.

Any men wishing to get involved can sign up for FREE now by emailing for more information.