An exploration of the UK unpaid carer's world

The food                                                                                         hidden page

1  The scenario

Written in early June.

The table layout considerations start with this average.

The following is not presented as impediments.   More a gastronomic picture worthy of discussion.

1 The scenario

  1. An impression of the lunch scenario has already been gained. Once the preparation is well under way, the tables are laid. There is no tight rule as to where clients sit which is good, and a lot depends on events at the tables just before.  Butterfly painting for example.
  2.  Volunteers and staff lay the tables, perhaps helped by one or two carers.  People gradually move to the tables as the food being prepared starts to arrive [if prepared in-house].     Most are involved in sandwich/roll prep without rubber gloves. Others ditto in the kitchen - salad prep.
  3. If the reader agrees that clients, volunteers and staff scattered across the activities area  for their meal is a good concept, disappointment ensues.  Volunteers and staff tend towards their own tables. Update 25 July – not quite as much now.
  4. If the reader agrees that clients, volunteers and staff share, ideally,  one meal, further disappointment.  Probably most volunteers and staff have brought their own food.
  5. If they eat separately from the clients, it could be argued that the clients are too wrapped up in their own food to be concerned.
  6. Readers agreeing with that, had best sit with the volunteers and staff.  Sharing the meal-experience has been around since biblical times.
  7. Apart from personal choice being invaded, the cost of £3 may, in principle, may be a limiting factor.  On 14 June all meals were free as a surplus had built up.  A noticeable improvement.   Perhaps revise how the budget works.
  8. Another MO is where all can order a meal from a local pub or fish & chip shop.  Possibly one one third want that and the others just pay the £3.
  9. What to do?
  10. I suggest nothing but thinking.  There will be times when suggestions are sought from clients, vols and staff together.  At other times, just the carers.  Just the carees.  Just the vols?  Staff and vols?  And so on.  What if I select a vol to put the concept forward?  I don’t want staff and vols to think I am interfering.  Update 25 July – in the present climate, I will do nothing.
  11.  Volunteers and staff – own food.  There’s no question of making strong or otherwise recommendations that they eat with the clients in the fuller sense.  If anything, start with the staff as an AOB at a meeting.
  12. Tables – ideally, obtain (donation) more.  Objective – more small square tables to enable longer stretches and increased capacity.
  13. Hotels use a system which includes tabletops which fit between two tables.  It can make a square/oblong with open centre with fewer tables, not that that is needed.  I have looked at the tables which are unusual “mechanically”.
  14. The aim, of course is to promote togetherness with clients, vols and staff spread randomly.
  15. All this applies to activities, of course, as well as meals.

6.2  A mild change

  1. Without drawing attention to the activity, one day in June I made one long table with the large round table nearby.  The chairs are not aligned due to table legs.

  2. The dark blue chair is back-to-front as a reservation for my wife's wheelchair.

  3. Often, the wheelchair is an afterthought as the WC intervenes while table prep is underway.

  4. Subsequent table layout was dependent on the volunteers present.

  5. I'd say on 3 Aug, there's been a slight improvement in the client/vols etc mix at table.  There is no host-planning thought given.

  6. Ten people on the long table, six on the round table.  At times, there are more so vols and staff hover in the sitting area.

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