CaptureA ground breaking project to give residents of a North Shields housing estate employability skills and at the same time help feed vulnerable pensioners has been selected as the Winner of the 2015 Idox Innovation Awards for Innovation in Promoting Healthy Living.

Meadow Well Estate’s community development charity, The Cedarwood Trust encourages people to make a real difference to their lives and to the tight knit community in which they live. The award winning Soup-a –Gran scheme

looks at ways in which more mature, long term unemployed residents can train in skills that can be used to help the estate further.

Meadow Well’s own Soup-a-gran’s are all over 50 years old, long term unemployed and have received training in health and safety, food hygiene, cookery skills and employability. The small team of Supergrans cook food and distribute it to the more vulnerable residents of the estate. In addition, they spend time with the person to ensure that they are safe and well and to offer a hand of friendship too.

This project aimed to redress some of the inequalities relating to health and income, particularly for those in the local community aged over 60.


The judges were impressed with the schemes outcomes which included:

  • 8 people taking part in an initial food programme in partnership with Age UK and Real Food Works
  • 12 over 50s received a Certificate in Basic Food 
  • 12 over 50s received a Health and Safety 
  • 18 people have received barista training
  • 50 people aged over 60 were involved from across 
the Meadow Well Estate
  • 30 beneficiaries received weekly visits and cooked 
meals and another 15 attended a weekly lunch club
  • 450 meals have been prepared by the over 50s 
and delivered in the local community

Phil McGrath, Chief Executive, Cedarwood Trust said,

“Our focus has been on the reduction of isolation, by bringing individuals together to share in a range of low level activities, by identifying interests and opportunities and developing strategies towards progression into projects that improve confidence.

“This award, from a company of such high regard as Idox, means a great deal to our project and underlines the excellent work undertaken by our Soup-a Grans to make a considerable difference to isolated older people in our community.”

The oldest volunteer, Meadow Well resident Audrey Jolly, aged 87 agreed.

“It’s a great feeling to be one of the Soup-a-gran’s. There are a lot of lonely and vulnerable people that we help and this scheme has made a big difference to everyone involved.”