Summer 2019


Partner Focus: CAD's Cookfresh YouTube Channel


Here at HAFLS, we love to hear about the fantastic initiatives that our network of partners, tutors and volunteers use to make adult learning fun. This month, we hear from Paul Mahay, a tutor with CAD (Community Action Dacorum) who has gone one step further to helping learners continue to progress outside their lessons, designing a YouTube channel, Cookfresh.

Paul's role within CAD is to provide tutoring to students, developing their skills and knowledge in areas that interest them. His programme, Cook Fresh, is aimed at individuals with little or no experience in cooking their own food from scratch. By allowing learners to make use of their own creative ideas when cooking for themselves, the aim is to move them away from unhealthy processed foods offered in supermarkets.

Cookfresh learners are from a variety of different sectors, including Mencap, Druglink and learners from HAFLS-funded courses and the Building Better Opportunities (BBO) project.

As part of the course, basic safety and general food hygiene around the kitchen is introduced and learners are taught how this prevents any infections and cross-contamination in the cooking process.

The goal for Cookfresh learners is to have the ability to create and cook their own food with fresh ingredients. As their confidence increases, they can create their own dishes simply and effectively from the comfort of home, thus providing personal satisfaction.

Long-term, through having fun whilst cooking, there is a positive effect on the learner’s mental stability through the therapeutic aspects of the process. Imagination is enhanced and brings with it a new profound sense of tastes from a wide variety of food types, from different seeds, spices and herbs used in the cooking process.

Paul has always believed that the benefits of learning a new skill at any age can result in better concentration as it increases a focus of attention, and maintaining an active, more fulfilled life. Discipline is helped with self-control, when practicing and honing new techniques. The creativity aspect enhances imagination, bringing innovative ideas into life. The independence of thought can be nurtured through research and discovery; it improves intrinsic motivation, by participation in something for personal pleasure, rather than for external reward. It improves open mindedness, being more flexible to new ideas. Problem solving is enhanced, by being challenged to explore different solutions, as well as improved positivity and self-worth, through having fun and escaping from reality. All of these various characteristics and abilities lead to a better sense of purpose, achievement, confidence, higher aspirations, self-respect and a deeper sense of belonging and identity and in return feeling aware of own capabilities.

Paul has been teaching since 2014 and has been involved with CAD since 2015. In Paul’s words, ‘the opportunities offered at CAD are second-to-none, and it is a privilege to work alongside them. CAD’s ‘Creative Learning’ offers a wide variety of learning courses for adults.’

To continue learning outside of the kitchen, Paul created the Cookfresh YouTube channel to assist learners with their cooking skills. Not only do the videos provide a great visual demonstration of a recipe for learners to recap, they also encourage use of IT to further enhance the learner’s digital skills. From the YouTube channel, there is scope to then conduct their own research in areas that are of interest to them.

In the future Paul hopes to expand Cookfresh to a wider audience offering classes to people from all walks of life and is in the process of creating a Cookfresh website to make this possible;

For more information on CAD’s Creative Learning courses, please visit;


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