“I am a 58-year-old single man in London living with HIV. My psychologist at the hospital referred me to The Food Chain and I haven’t looked back since. I looked forward every week to coming to the courses: Eating Positively on a Monday and Eating Together on a Wednesday. In fact today I am cooking the recipe for something that I tried on the Eating Together class last week: the bread and butter pudding with jam!
“Before I joined The Food Chain I felt very isolated – the government halved my Disability Living Allowance for some reason as I am not ‘disabled enough’. It’s had a massive impact on my income: now I don’t have any social life at all – I can’t afford a pint of beer as I’ve no money whatsoever in my pocket. I will have to sell my house and move outside London. I’ve been living off fast food as it was cheap.
“As well as the courses, The Food Chain supplied me with grocery deliveries, which helped me to start eating better and motivated me to begin to cook again and try new things. I’ve been using all the recipes and will keep using them when I move. I’ve made some hummus which I certainly would not have tried before I came to the classes: they’ve really inspired me to try new things.
“The Eating Positively classes have also taught me how to eat on a budget and now I make meals that will provide portions for 2 or 3 days. I cook porridge for breakfast every day and have a wrap to eat at lunchtime and dinner later on, so it has helped in providing a framework to my day as well.
“The Food Chain is a very worthwhile charity. I love the interaction with people and the fact that the services are free. I’m a very sociable person and have found it very hard to deal with losing a lot of my social connections because of the drastic cut in my benefits.
“Now my eating habits have improved dramatically and The Food Chain has given me a reason to get up in the morning.”