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Looking after the family, Looking after me.

Looking after the family,

Looking after me




Seven week course outlining:

  • Managing the family home,
  • Quick and easy dishes
  • Ways to save money


Developed by Noelle Eakins, Tutor,


Clare Family Learning Project and St. Vincent de Paul

September 2016


‘Looking after the family, looking after me’

A seven week programme to support parents who may find it difficult to cope with running a home. An element of cookery is built into each class to encourage attendance. Two tutors will deliver each session to support the skills of the participant and their ability to cope with their situation. There are separate handouts from various agencies e.g. Money, Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) and Health Service Executive (HSE) to supplement classes. Classes will always include a cookery session and a discussion. A number of topics will be offered to participants so that they choose the class content. This can be extended to a 14 week course, with 6 hour a week as an Intensive Tuition in Adult Basic Education (ITABE) course.

Class Topic Content
1 Easy home management and cooking

Welcome  Introductions Paperwork

Overview of six sessions.

Filing documents in the home

Home budgeting

Chilli con Carne Soup

Chicken Curry and Boiled Rice

2 Cleaning and maintenance

Hygiene in the home, Cleaning Agents, Home Safety, Food and mood,

Smoky Pea and Onion Quorn

3 Food health

Relaxation, Dealing with stress,

Childcare, Ideal weight for children.

Ideas for lunches, soups and lunch boxes.

Simple Bean Curry,

Vegetable Soup,

Stir-Fry Noodles

4 Food hygiene Convenience foods, diet behaviour and learning in children. Using leftovers. Breakfast ideas.       Pan Fried Quesadillas
5 Consumers /shopping

Field trip to the shops.

How to shop smart.

Three Minute Mug Cake

6 First aid

Laundry and clothes care.

Diet linked to feelings.

Pot Luck Frittata 

7 Conserving Energy

Ways to save money by being aware of energy waste.

Cheats Chicken and Leek in a creamy sauce


Evaluation will include a discussion at the end of each class with notes taken by the tutors. A more detailed evaluation will happen on the final night to access if the course requires adjusting to meet needs more accurately and if follow on courses are requested. The Adult Guidance service or Local Development Worker may attend on one evening to provide information on what is on offer to participants in their local area.


Review of ‘Looking after the family, Looking after me’ Pilot Project

Clare Family Learning Project       Spring 2017


While promoting Family Learning courses to members of funding organisation it was suggested that many parents the funder meets need help with household budgeting and general home management skills, including cookery. A seven week pilot programme was developed by Clare Family Learning Project in conjunction with guidance from the funder. The programme was delivered from 20th January to 10th March 2017 in Ennis. Funder provided the tuition costs, while CFLP provided venue, materials and ingredients.

Programme curriculum

A tutor with the CFLP was tasked with expanding the key topics for a seven week course. She provided a wide range of topics and useful links, resources and recipes for learners. A handbook was developed for tutors to use. Due to the nature of the course it was felt that two tutors would work together to support learners. Some may need extra support as sensitive information may arise. As this was a pilot project a pre and post short survey was used to gather information to assess the impact of the new learning.


The pilot project was mentioned at a number of LCETB programme managers meetings and Local Area Network meetings. This resulted in a number of agencies contacting CFLP requesting the handbook for use with their own clients e.g. homeless group and women’s refuge organisation.

The course was promoted in and around Ennis through SVP, Clare Family Learning Project and relevant community and government agencies locally: Clare Immigrant Support Services, Clarecare, Public Health Nurses, Home School Community Liaison Coordinators in schools, Traveller Primary Healthcare Project, etc.

Gathering information

Participant analysis

Ten participants attended the course, seven Irish and three migrants attended.  Two male and eight female. One person wanted to get support as she would soon be living independently. Nine were early school leavers. Three have disabilities, while one is a migrant worker.  Five are Long Term Unemployed, two are unemployed less than a year while two are not in the Labour Market while one is employed in low paid job. Five attended on last day for evaluations.

Learners were aged between 32 and 71, with an average age of 41.

Four had primary education, four had lower second level education and two had some upper second level education.

Two were Brothers of Charity referrals, and one was referred from Department of Social Protection.

Attendance was very good with four of those attending having 100% attendance, while two missed just one day out of seven.



On the first day after introductions, learners completed a short survey on what they currently do at home regarding budgeting and managing. They were then provided with a selection of topics they could choose from. The following were chosen: Easy home management and cookery, Cleaning and maintenance, Food health, Food hygiene, Consumer skills and shopping, and Basic First aid. Each class included a cookery demonstration.

Pre and post results for six learners:

  • Learner one

Is more careful when using home heating, has less food going off now, is trying a new recipe once a week, is sorting out paperwork weekly, and is now saving money monthly.

  • Learner two

Now always watches for special offers, reduces home heating when necessary, sorts out paperwork more regularly, is doing regular exercise previously did no exercise. She is talking with her children about healthier diets.

  • Learner three

Watches for special offers, is more careful of using energy in the home, has tried some recipes and has become more aware of healthier options when shopping.

  • Learner four

Started to repair clothes, makes meal plans before shopping, uses new ingredients more.

  • Learner five

Reduces the heat now, is cooking meals at home more regularly, tries the odd new recipe, and less food is going to waste.

  • Learner six

Less food is going to waste, making a daily meal plan has helped, using tumble drier less now.

Weekly objectives

The group decided themselves on class objectives and it can be seen that after the course there was a definite improvement in their knowledge:

I’d like to know more about food health and how to deal with stress

Learner 1 Learner 2 Learner 3 Learner 4 Learner 5
Pre course 4 5 6 5 6
Post course 8 9 9 8 7



I’d like to be a smart shopper

Learner 1 Learner 2 Learner 3 Learner 4 Learner 5
Pre course 4 4 5 5 7
Post course 8 7 8 8 9


I’d like to know more about different cleaning products

Learner 1 Learner 2 Learner 3 Learner 4 Learner 5
Pre course 4 2 3 5 8
Post course 8 6 7 9 10


I’d like to be more organised

Learner 1 Learner 2 Learner 3 Learner 4 Learner 5
Pre course 3 5 5 5 7
Post course 9 8 9 9 9


Where was I before I started the course?

Learner 1 Learner 2 Learner 3 Learner 4 Learner 5
Pre course 5 5 7
Post course 9 9 9


Issues among class group:

Week 1

  • Struggling to find things, forgetting to pay an energy bill and electricity was cut off, found learning to eat Gluten free useful for family,
  • Tips from group: Write in red marker on outside of envelope not to forget what it contains, e.g. bills for ESB etc.

Week 2

  • Tips: Put a wet cloth in microwave and turn on for short while the steam softens the grime making it easier to clean. Clean one room at a time. Do jobs in the morning before you get tired. Turn music on helps to get on with cleaning the home. Don’t overload sockets in case of fire. Make sure batteries are in smoke alarms.

Week 3

  • Tips: Try deep breathing exercises to de-stress. Finding out about the body e.g. BMI is good and they plan to reduce their sugar intake. One person will buy natural sugar substitute. Two aim to do some exercises daily. One plans to make homemade soup.


Week 4

  • Plan to waste less food by using it in new recipes now. Plan to buy less food and avoid waste.

Week 5

  • Went on shop visit to spot consumer tricks, food labelling.

Week 6

  • Used YouTube to learn how to put someone in the recovery position. First Aid tips.


  • Literacy, numeracy and digital skills were embedded in each class in a natural way. The high attendance rate showed this type of class works to retain learners. Having two tutors was very useful to support the learners and gather information. The project has been very successful in supporting those on low incomes to better manage their finances.


Report by Mary Flanagan

Tutors: Noelle Eakins prepared the Resource Pack and co-facilitated the course.

Colette O’Brien documented and co-facilitated the course.

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