“I really look forward to the cookery classes each week. With the right support, baking with no sight is easier than I’d imagined!”

Could you imagine making shortbread if you were severely sight impaired?

Two of our service users, Tony and Audrey have been learning how to prepare food and bake in a series of pilot cookery sessions with our Enablement and Rehabilitation Team Leader, Lisa Young. Here they tell you their stories and how much they’ve enjoyed the sessions:


“I really look forward to the cookery classes each week. With the right support, baking with no sight is easier than I’d imagined!” 2 Image of Tony standing in our Manchester community hub kitchen

“I’ve been attending the sessions for four weeks and really enjoyed the classes. We havebaked variety of delights including flap-jacks, shortbread, scones and shortbread. My wife usually cooks and bakes for our family at home and these classes are a great opportunity for me to learn how to navigate my way around the kitchen safely.

I have been severely sight impaired my whole life but my sight has gradually gotten worse and now I am completely blind. It has been a long journey for me and the road has had many bumps along the way but I believe when you are blind or visually impaired the key is to adapt your way of living so that you can keep your independence and enjoy life. I started coming to Henshaws a few years ago after hearing about your services and my quality of life has definitely improved. I initially completed the Introduction into IT course using Jaws software. As a result of my new found confidence, I went on to complete a City & Guilds qualification at Bury College, something I am extremely proud of and never thought I could achieve being blind.

Lisa, who runs the cookery course is wonderful – she talks us through how to prepare the ingredients, provides us with assistive tools and tricks to measure (such as talking scales) and makes sure that we always practise safety in the kitchen – working with sharp tools and hot ovens can potentially be dangerous when you are blind or visually impaired. Each week my confidence grew a little more and at the end of the course I felt confident enough to bake scones at home (much to the delight of my family!) We always have a good laugh in the classes and never take ourselves too seriously.

I would love to join the cookery sessions that Lisa is launching soon, I really look forward to the classes each week – with the right support baking with no sight is easier than I’d imagined! I would highly recommend the course, whether you’re an experienced baker or are just starting out Lisa will look after you, she can also advise on equipment you can source to help you cook and bake safely at home”.

Watch a video clip of Tony in action by clicking the link below:


Audrey cookery class blog “I really look forward to the cookery classes each week. With the right support, baking with no sight is easier than I’d imagined!” 4

“I have been coming to Henshaws for three years after first being referred through PatientSupport Officers, Maggie and Pauline at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. I can’t speak highly enough of Henshaws, it has provided me with a wonderful support network. I am a regular at the braille group where I have made a lovely group of friends and I also enjoy the weekly yoga sessions which keep me supple and are good fun!

Lisa asked me to be a guinea pig for her cookery pilot sessions and I jumped at the chance, I’ve always loved cooking and baking but I am limited because of my visual impairment – I wanted to learn techniques to enable me to bake safely (whilst making sure it still tastes good!)

I really look forward to the sessions with Lisa, we have such a laugh but she takes safely very seriously, making sure we use the right tools and techniques to navigate around the kitchen. My daughter Shelly is a wonderful support, she is a fantastic baker and makes cakes professionally for weddings, birthdays and special occasions – she has high standards and has been very impressed with the goodies I’ve brought home and my new found confidence around the kitchen.

I can’t wait to continue Lisa’s cookery sessions, she’s told me the plans include home-baked bread and healthy eating plans – it is important to look after yourself so I’m very much looking forward to learning more!”

Watch a video clip of Audrey in action by clicking below:

Henshaws will soon be launching cookery sessions at Atherton House in Manchester which includes a healthy eating programme, teaching people with a Visual Impairment how to cook and prepare healthy food safely as well as inspiring participants with great recipes.

A visual impairment shouldn’t create a barrier to living and eating well and enjoying food.

Plans for our sessions include baking delicious home-made bread, we may look at running courses for different levels of cooking abilities so there will be something for everyone whether you’re an enthusiastic beginner or a seasoned pro! Lisa will be completing a skills assessment for each candidate.

If you would like to express your interest or find out more please contact Lisa Young on 0161 872 1234 or e-mail lisa.young@henshaws.org.uk.

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