Supported living residents create lockdown cookbook

Cake being taken out of pan. 

Hackney Shared Lives residents' James and Graeme have created a lockdown cookbook. - Credit: Hackney council

Hackney residents from a supported living scheme have created a cookbook after a series of virtual cooking sessions and "cook-offs" during Covid lockdown. 

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic in April last year, James and Graeme, who preferred not to share their last names, were feeling fed up with the lack of activities, so their carers got together and organised virtual cooking sessions for them.

The sessions resulted in a shared interest and love for cooking as James and Graeme challenged each other to a "cook-offs" each week. The results were later made into a cookbook to celebrate their culinary achievements. 

Graeme said: "The sessions were good, taking part, meeting people. I now do video sessions with the day centre and see my friends finally. I want to carry on cooking, it would be nice.”

Graeme makes a pizza. 

Graeme makes a pizza. - Credit: Hackney council

James and Graeme have lived in Hackney's Shared Lives Scheme, a regulated accommodation service run by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), for about a decade or more. 

The supported living scheme involves vulnerable residents having a room in their carers home where they are supported to live independently. 

Shared Lives service users may need extra support due to having a learning disability, mental ill health or need short term support after a hospital visit. 

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James, who lives with his carer and their family enjoys cooking Jamie Oliver recipes.

He said: “I missed cooking and really love that I can do it again. Jamie Oliver cook books are easy to follow and I just purchased a new book.

"I love different foods and would like to meet up with Graeme or others and go to different restaurants.”

James baking a cake. 

James baking a cake. - Credit: Hackney council

Download the cookbook, and find out what service users say about the Shared Lives service at 

People over 21, who have a spare bedroom and live in Hackney can become a Shared Lives carer.

Carers don’t need special qualifications, what’s more important is the right attitude and a desire to help people improve their quality of life.

 Find out more about becoming a Shared Lives Carer at