And for our charity of the day, many thanks to Ben Francis from the Casserole Club. This is what he has to say.
Winter warmer campaign to bring Christmas cheer to older people in Barnet
A campaign to encourage people to think about their older neighbours who might be spending Christmas alone has been launched in Barnet. The campaign, led by community food-sharing project Casserole Club and supported by the Barnet Group, shows how Barnet residents could help older neighbours by taking part in projects like the Casserole Club.
Casserole Club is a meal-sharing project that puts you in touch with an older neighbour who you can bring a warm, home-cooked meal round to, sharing food but also friendship. The project has thousands of cooks across the UK eager to share meals and bring warmth into the life of the older people they meet.
Research from Age UK shows that people more than 50% of those over 80 years of age in the UK are lonely. This same research also suggests that malnutrition amongst older people is increasing. It is estimated that 1.3 million people aged over 65 suffer from malnutrition, which most of the time is preventable.
That’s why Casserole Club are calling on people across Barnet to pledge to share a portion of good home-cooked food with an older neighbour this winter. Find out more about sharing with Casserole Club at www.casseroleclub.com
Ingrid Karikari, Project Lead for Casserole Club, explains how Barnet residents can get involved:
“You don't have to cook a meal for an older neighbour, though it is one of the ways you can help. Calling round on an older neighbour or family member in the long dark evenings, offering to pick up the newspaper or shopping if it's cold and icy out, or simply pick up the phone and see how they're doing - just some ideas of how you can make winter warmer. And don’t think that our diners (as we like to call them) will just sit back and take your cooking. They’ll make #winterwarmer for you with their glowing welcome, warming friendship and overall good company.”
Troy Henshall, Deputy Chief Executive at The Barnet Group, explains the extent of the problem in Barnet that Casserole Club is helping to solve:
“Social isolation, malnutrition and food poverty more generally are growing problems. Older people especially often lack the means to access food aid such as food banks, and so are more at risk from malnutrition and associated ill health. This ill-health increases the burden and cost on our already overstretched health service and social care services. Casserole Club is part of the solution to this problem, which is why we’re asking the Barnet community to sign up and help an older neighbour in need this Winter.”
One of example of how Casserole Club is making a positive difference to people’s lives are Angela Speight and Diane Collins, who both live in Barnet. Eighteen months ago Angela and Diane had never met. Now, thanks to Casserole Club, Diane enjoys Angela’s cooking every week and they’ve become close friends.
“When I saw the picture of Diane on the Casserole Club website, I thought, ‘I like the look of her!’ I’ve brought her lasagne, sausage casseroles, enchiladas, roast dinners and (Diane’s favourite), curry. My children always want to see Diane and her dog, too. It’s a lovely thing: you make a friend, you know they’re eating a good meal and you don’t have to throw good food away.” - Angela Speight, Casserole Cook
“She cooks lovely dinners and gives me big portions, so I put half in the fridge to eat the next day. Last year Diane brought me Christmas dinner. I said I’d be all right over the holiday, but she said: ‘No bother.’ You don’t get many people like that in the world now. For me, it’s so good to know someone is coming round on a Wednesday night and has dinner for you, though Angela is welcome here any time.” - Diane Collins, Casserole Diner
The Casserole Club team will be sharing more ways you can help on the Casserole Club website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Join the campaign at www.casseroleclub.com and help make #winterwarmer.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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