V for Life is a charity very close to our hearts, as it helps elderly vegetarians and vegans to life a life their later years comfortably holding onto their principles and the belief that animals are friends not food! We chose V for Life to be recipients of our January donation of healthy food and we spoke to Claire Bannerman from the charity to tell us a little bit more about the excellent work they do...

1, Tell us a bit about how it got started at Vegetarian For Life

V for Life is the leading authority on diet and healthy living advice for older vegans and vegetarians. V for Life was formed with resources from the Vegetarian Housing Association (VHA), which provided sheltered housing and meals to older vegetarians. VHA was established in the 1960s, but its activities became increasingly unviable because of changes in society. In 2007, VHA decided to wind down its housing activities and redirect its resources to funding the formation of V for Life—a charity whose aims are in sympathy with those of VHA. Since there are only three fully vegetarian care homes in the UK, one of V for Life’s major goals is improve the standard of vegan and vegetarian catering in existing homes. We seek to do this through our UK List, which is a geographical listing of organisations and care homes that make a special effort to cater for vegetarians and vegans. We also work with lunch clubs and community groups to deliver cooking demos and classes to help make food provided more inclusive and nutritious.

2, What do you do to help improve the quality of life for vegetarians and vegans?

We provide information, support and guidance for vegetarians and vegans. We have an extensive range of recipes and publications ranging from Cooking For One to Vegan Baking and Vegan Rescue Pack.www.vegetarianforlife.org.uk/resources/publications/

We also work with care homes with our Memory Care Pledge where care caterers sign up to our pledge to ensure that residents vegetarian and vegan wishes are respected. www.vegetarianforlife.org.uk/pages/pledge/


3, What will you use the Greencity donation for?

The food will be used at cookery demos and lunch clubs where we showcase a range of our recipes and give participants hints and tips on vegetarian and vegan cooking.


4, Do you think it is easier nowadays to be a vegetarian or vegan than in the past? And if so, why?

Vegetarian and vegan diets are becoming more popular with many supermarkets having Plant-based ranges. The popularity of Veganuary has seen an increase in meat alternatives and dairy-free cheese and milk products. These have definitely improved in quality and variety over the past few years. Chefs are becoming more knowledgable and restaurants are providing more options and moving beyond a cliché tomato pasta. Whether you are a chef or new to trying vegan cooking at home our Veganising Classic Dishes publication is packed full of recipes and tips from our chefs www.vegetarianforlife.org.uk/resources/publications/veganising-classic-dishes


5, What can our readers do to help your mission to improve the lives of older vegetarians and vegans?

Readers can follow us on Facebook, and like and share our video on Youtube. We also have a volunteer scheme - If you don’t need support at the present time, perhaps you could spare a little time to help someone who does? Friends of Vegetarian for Life are vegan or vegetarian people who work voluntarily to help raise awareness of the charity and its work. Their brief is wide and interesting because they will be in contact with both individuals and care establishments. The very positive impact of supporters who believe strongly in the charity’s objectives cannot be overestimated. You can really help us to make a difference to someone’s life! www.vegetarianforlife.org.uk/friends/

6, If you could invite anybody, living or dead, to your dream dinner party, who would you invite and why?

I would love to have Linda McCartney to my dinner party. As well as being an animal rights activist, she was a photographer and author. I think she would be really interesting and of course her food range makes it easier for vegetarians and vegans to enjoy plant-based meat alternatives such as burgers and sausages. If she could bring her favourite dish that would be even better! I think it would be great to have someone young like the famous vegan Billie Eilish and an older vegan such as Woody Harrelson around the table. The conversation would be great and would be so interesting to hear the thoughts of a younger vegan compared to someone older.


Thanks to Claire at V for Life for answering our questions! You can find out more about their work and make a donation at www.vforlife.org.uk/donate/