A famous chef and a leading symbol software company have collaborated to bring a Hull teacher’s cookery initiative for pupils with learning difficulties to fruition.
With the permission of publishers, Bloomsbury Absolute, designers at Widgit Software symbolised recipes from Tom Kerridge’s best-selling cookery book, Lose Weight and Get Fit for pupils at Ganton School and the wider community.
Sixth form teacher, Asa Hancock, had the idea of symbolising recipes during the first lockdown: “During the unprecedented lockdowns of the last 15 months, I was struck by the lack of symbol supported recipes for people with learning difficulties.
“Many of Ganton’s students are inspired by the nation’s favourite chefs like Tom Kerridge, Jamie Oliver and the Hairy Bikers. They come alive when we watch these brilliant chefs on T.V. and work hard to reproduce their food in our onsite kitchen but find it difficult without symbols.
“I approached Tom Kerridge and Bloomsbury Absolute for permission to use the recipes and Widgit to design the symbolised recipes and am delighted that both parties were able to support the initiative.
“We are incredibly grateful for their support and excited to be able to release a number of Tom’s Lose Weight and Get Fit recipes in a symbol-supported format in time for Learning Disability Week that starts on 14th June. I hope that people will download the recipes and enjoy using them to get cooking together.”
Widgit designed symbolised recipes free of charge to help Ganton’s students and other pupils with learning difficulties.
Symbol and Accessible Information Designer, Tom Jelley incorporated simplified instructions and symbols into well-designed documents that can be accessed by the students with some adult supervision. Tom talked about why he was so pleased to be involved:
“Widgit has always striven to support those who find access to text difficult, so we were delighted to be a part of Asa Hancock’s project that provides access to healthy eating and cooking for students at Ganton.”
“Asa first approached us with a request to produce a set of symbolised healthy recipes for his students to follow and cook whilst they were at home during the lockdown. We are delighted to have worked with him and Bloomsbury to symbolise a series of Tom Kerridge’s recipes.
“We believe that good design and access to text are not mutually exclusive and the opportunity to demonstrate this utilising Tom Kerridge’s recipes has been a pleasure.”
The symbolised recipes will be published on Ganton School’s, Widgit’s and Mencap’s websites from 14th June and include Chicken Traybake, Peri-Peri Chicken and Spicy Mexican Bean Burger.
Hancock’s initiative has the backing of the UK’s leading learning disability charity, Mencap.
Jackie O’Sullivan, Director of communication, advocacy and activism said:
“This initiative is brilliant and will enable more people with a learning disability to cook. It would be fantastic to see some of the celebrity chefs getting on board so that they can make their delicious food accessible to everyone. It’s not just people with a learning disability who will benefit – these symbols make following a recipe much easier. We are right behind Asa and his talented students at Ganton.”
“According to a report by NHS Digital, in 2018 only 6% of adults with a learning disability were known to be in work. Teaching the student’s cookery skills will help them to develop independent living skills and will enhance their employment chances, so we’re indebted to everyone who has given their support to this groundbreaking project,” Hancock concludes.
Ganton School is home to 169 students from four to 19 years. It is a thriving and inclusive community that is committed to excellence in personalised learning and well-being.
Widgit Symbols are used worldwide to support people and help them realise their full potential, no matter what their age, ability or background.
The recipes are available for people to download on the following websites, http://bit.ly/GantonSchoolSymbolisedRecipes, www.widgit.com/tomkerridge and https://www.mencap.org.uk/