Meath residents, day clients, staff and volunteers have all enjoyed a trial period of The Hive, our onsite Café and social hub which launched in October 2023. The New Year now brings a further exciting phase for The Hive as we continue to build opportunities to meet, eat and thrive. Leading The Hive team on that mission is newly appointed Cinzia Fontana, Hive Team Leader.
Last Autumn we reintroduced lunches, gave our café space a much needed vibrant make over and tried out a series of social events including regular Social Saturday Sessions.
Our trial period enabled us to make some gradual changes which often suits the people we support better than overnight change. From October- December a range of social and educational activities were enjoyed at The Hive thanks to collaborative working and support from Marketing, Fundraising, Residential Services, Volunteers and Meath family members.
Meanwhile our Occupational Therapy Team delivered two new ASDAN Accredited courses in Food Safety and Hazards in the Kitchen to the first cohort of interested residents who are keen to join the social enterprise as Hive Helpers. Following successful completion of the entry level ASDAN courses, residents have been supported to help out in the café with serving customers, wiping tables, washing up and operating the till. Helping out at The Hive is proving popular and Cinzia looks forward to working collaboratively with the Occupational Therapy team to begin some group food preparation sessions for the more culinary minded Hive Helpers.
With light lunches firmly established on The Menu thanks to the dedication and hard work of Sandra, Café Assistant, and many Hive Volunteers, we are pleased to try out some new menu options with an emphasis on fresh, healthy and tasty food, and to extend our daytime opening to 4pm this Spring.
Following the popularity of our Autumn trial social events at The Hive, we also look forward to developing affordable regular late afternoon sessions for the people we support and delivering a regular Social Super Club which offers the people we support the opportunity to enjoy a sociable meal outside of their home with friends from other Meath houses, but without needing to stretch to high street prices. Following the resounding success of our fortnightly Social Saturday Sessions we simply plan to continue these!
Scheduled sessions led by Cinzia and structured social events offer so much, but so too does the spontaneity of the less structured Social Saturday Sessions which is a much enjoyed, relaxed opportunity to play games, listen to a story or be a part of telling it, discuss ideas for Meath events or new menu ideas or simply catch up with friends. Social Saturday sessions have been supported by regular volunteers Duncan and Rebecca and due to the popularity of these sessions we’d be delighted to welcome any other friendly willing volunteers.
“I am pleased to join The Meath as Hive Team Leader and hope to welcome you to The Hive soon! I look forward to combining my passion for fresh, nutritious food with sustainability and my love for working collaboratively with the local community. I am thrilled to be able to use my skills as a caterer and designer at The Hive, a setting which combines food, learning and socialisation.”
This Spring you can expect to see some great new healthy menu choices including the introduction of smoothies. Following some fantastic suggestions for smoothie recipes from some of the people we support at a Social Saturday session, we are especially looking forward to introducing the ‘Dragon’s Dream’ dragon fruit infused smoothie and the ‘Tropical Fairytale’.
Healthy snacks such as crudité and homemade hummus and fruit kebabs are on offer with the tempting incentive of a ‘Hive Healthy Choice’ sticker which can be affixed to the new Skills Centre ‘Mind & Body Boost Challenge’ which aims to encourage the people we support to be mindful of their daily exercise, food and drink choices and mood. To help customers and especially the people we support to make informed choices with drinks, snacks and lunches we will also be introducing a ‘traffic light’ colour coding system to menu items. Support Workers can then discuss with residents to establish their thoughts on how many times per week red, amber and green choices should be enjoyed.
Look out for new food tasters and please do give us your feedback!
At The Heart of Our Community
We look forward to inviting community groups into The Hive to enjoy collaborative sessions, give talks or simply to join us for an afternoon tea. We hope to use The Hive as an opportunity to strengthen ties with our local community, if you are a member of a community group and would like to join us for a joint session with the people we support please get in touch, we would love to hear from you. Topics that we are especially keen to explore with local community groups are:
The Hive will also be home to a quarterly Epilepsy Coffee Morning supported by Lisa O’Brien, Head of Health & Wellbeing. This will be an informal opportunity for people who are affected by epilepsy to benefit from peer-to-peer support.
Helen Jackson, Head of Marketing commented:
“So often at community events when I’m representing The Meath, people come up to me to say that they have been recently diagnosed with epilepsy or have a close family member who has. A regular Meath coffee morning would be such a wonderfully helpful way to give back to our supportive local community and encourage people to get talking about epilepsy. While we will not be providing an advisory service, Lisa’s wealth of knowledge and experience of epilepsy and treatments will be a huge asset.”