>> The National Activity Providers Association (NAPA) is teaming up with Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) to inspire care homes across the UK and Ireland to get involved in its ‘new for 2015’ Fine Dining Experience Challenge.

The competition has been launched as part of the annual NAPA awards. By creating unique and memorable dining experiences, care homes have a chance of winning cash prizes plus lots of other goodies, including a masterclass with Michelin-starred chef Mark Sargeant.

Sylvie Silver, director at NAPA, said: “The Fine Dining Experience is an opportunity for care settings to showcase their culinary expertise to both residents and some community guests. It gives chefs the chance to do something really special with the food that’s being prepared.

“Everyone can get involved – from the gardener growing the peas that are going on the table, to the activity co-ordinators organising the event, to people from the local community, who wouldn’t normally visit the home.

“It’s all about giving the residents a real sense of occasion, something special to do, something to look forward to.”

1. Grow your own – For gardeners growing the food served at the table
2. Setting the scene – The décor used to create a wonderful setting
3. The chef’s masterpiece – The menu and its appeal to residents
4. Community connections – Getting the local community involved in the event
5. The whole home approach – Using the talents of everyone on the staff team
6. The overall fine dining challenge – A combination of all of the above

Unilever Food Solutions has created activity packs and supporting materials to help care homes to plan and run their Fine Dining Experience.

Paul Wright, development chef for elderly care at Unilever Food Solutions, said: “It’s so important for those in care to socialise over food and experience stimulating mealtimes. The Fine Dining Experience provides a great opportunity for care settings to really show off how they have combined tasty food, drink and activities, and to feel proud of the wonderful experience they create.”

To enter, homes need to host an event between July 13-20. Each category has a cash prize of £150, as well as a bigger prize of £300 for homes that take part in the whole challenge.

Entries can be submitted by email, post or fax. For more details visit www.napa-activities.co.uk. Care homes have until 5pm on August 10 to submit their entries. Winners will be invited to the award ceremony at NAPA’s annual gala in London on September 23.