An interview at The Manor

Earlier this year The Manor, a Leonard Cheshire service in Huntingdon, was the recipient of Howdens 100th inclusive kitchen donation. The charity returned three months later to find out how they’re getting on with it...

Billie Smith – Volunteer Coordinator at The Manor – has worked for Leonard Cheshire Disability for 26 years:

Q. What type of activities do the residents get involved in?

A. Residents take part in boccia, cooking, life skills, bowling, arts and crafts, sport, cycling, quizzes, sewing and knitting and yoga. They also often go out to the theatre and the cinema, and go swimming. The residents are now also going out food shopping, cooking, and then eating what they’ve cooked.  

Q. What was the kitchen/kitchen facilities like before the Howdens kitchen?

A. The only kitchen facilities we had before was the working kitchen. If we, or the residents, wanted to use it, we would have to wait until it was free. We needed a new kitchen so the residents could live and eat more independently. So they could live their life the way they wish to, and not wait for someone to be free, or to cook for them.

Q. What do you think of the new kitchen?

A. I couldn’t fault Howdens. They understood the needs of our residents, and the local branch was very supportive. It’s lovely to see our residents joining in – having a large group of residents cooking together, and washing up together. That’s what it’s all about.

Q. What do the residents think of the new kitchen?

A. Residents love it. One of them said to me, ‘If I want a pizza, I can just go and buy it and cook it. It’s made me feel so much more independent.’ It’s also helped with learning other life skills like using the washing machine.


Isabella has lived at The Manor for seven years: 

Q. What was the kitchen/kitchen facilities like before?

A. I couldn’t get near one before because of health and safety reasons, so I couldn’t ever cook.

Q. What do you think of the new kitchen, and how is it different to the last one?

A. Since having a stroke and moving to the manor, I never thought I would be able to do the normal things in life like baking and making food for myself, which I enjoy doing.

Q. What difference has the new kitchen made to your daily life?

A. I bake, cook and practice life skills. I also look up other recipes to make or get others to help. Simply: I can do something else for myself, independently with just a little help and support.