Yvonne Cobb: I’m passionate about improving Deaf people’s confidence with food and nutrition (BSL)

Posted on July 12, 2017

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I am the Deaf Nigella Lawson, or so I have been told!

I have been passionate about food since I was very young. My deaf Mum taught me to cook – she was a great foodie and a great deaf role model to me.

Watch Yvonne sign her article in BSL below:

Since then I have created my own beautiful family and since my first born arrived in 2000, I have always been passionate about feeding them with good nutritious food.

With this in mind, my interest in food grew and grew, including cooking for friends and family, who all encouraged me to develop this a business for other people. This is how Yumma was born.

I started by having a monthly pop-up cafe at GDA, a local deaf charity based in Gloucester, early in 2016, and now, it is still going very strong with over 50 people attending each month.

Many people from Gloucestershire and Bristol come and some even come as far as Cardiff and Exeter!

We have introduced many new foods and people have become more aware about what food they can try out at home, for example, having sugar free flapjacks, tasty oil dressing for salads, chickpea curry, and halloumi dishes.

We have introduced more and more food and cakes that are sugar-free because we have realised that many deaf people who have approached us have diabetes issues, and in the UK region, research has shown that more deaf people have obesity problems than hearing people.

I was then determined to empower deaf people with better information about nutrition by giving workshops, classes, and reducing isolation by giving deaf people part-time employment with catering, and organising pop-up cafes.

In the spring, I recruited Leah Michaelides, a deaf lady who knows a lot about food nutrition, to work with me at Yumma for our first nutrition workshop. We enjoyed it so much, and many deaf participants found it very valuable and useful.

We decided to have a go at filming how to put together a sugar-free breakfast, with thanks to a small amount of funding from School of Social Entrepreneurs and support from Sainsbury’s.

A 5 minute video was released online in June and we were amazed to see it reach over 10k viewers with 130 shares within 5 days.

You can watch it below (or click here to see it directly on Facebook).

We want to say a BIG thank you to all these who gave us feedback, and we really feel encouraged to make further short videos using different food themes. This will promote better awareness for deaf people to understand to eat more food with good nutritional values.

Within a year, Yumma has taught 40 deaf people with nutrition cookery workshops, fed over 100 people with our pop-up cafes, delivered food catering for over 25 events, and recruited 5 deaf part-time freelance cooks.

Interest is really growing. Encouraging people to change what they eat to improve physical and mental health is paramount to us at Yumma.

Yvonne says: “I am Yvonne, living in Stroud, Gloucestershire and the founder of Yumma Food, specialising in simple, tasty and flavoursome food. A deaf cook with a big personality and a passionate foodie, I support the deaf community and am a big fan of ‘bowl food’. When I am not busy cooking, you will probably find me reading cookery books, retail shopping with my family, eating and watching good films, as well as socialising with close friends.”

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