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Cast your mind back to Christmas 2014 and perhaps you will recall a story about a certain Betty Williams who decided to buy 50 people in her village Christmas lunch.  The story struck a chord and made me wonder firstly why this isn’t being provided by the community and secondly, could I make something happen like this in Brighton?  Fast forward to present day and I am very excited to announce Bright Dials is launching the Casserole Club in Brighton with the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership and Impetus.

So what is Casserole Club? It’s a project which helps people share extra portions of home-cooked food with others in their area who might not always be able to cook for themselves. You can sign up as person who likes to cook and are up for sharing an extra plate of home cooked food (Cooks) and to search for neighbours who could really benefit from a home cooked hot meal (Diners).

The beauty of Casserole Club is a concept known as micro-volunteering which enables people to give on a level which suits them with low barriers to entry.  It’s also it’s simplicity, everyone gets the concept of sharing food; the word ‘Companion’ came from Latin ‘Con Panna’ or ‘With Bread’ which demonstrates this point perfectly.

It’s easy to sign up on the site by registering your details, food preferences and availability.  The Cook needs to complete a Food Hygiene test and we also run a DBS check which can be done via the platform with a visual check on your ID (which we’ve conveniently set up a party for you to enjoy at the same time register here to come join us on the 29th of June).  Or perhaps you know a Diner?  It’s always harder to find Diners, thankfully we have the brilliant Impetus on board to help, but we welcome more.  Visit this page to suggest someone to find out more information.   Once our Cooks and Diners have registered,  we match up our Cooks with Diners based on mutual criteria.  Then it’s over to you.  Make an extra plate and take it round.  Simples.

Our aim is to get the Pilot scheme live in two key areas in Brighton & Hove and sign up people who want to cook and connect with their local community.  The first area is made up of three wards (Westbourne, Goldsmid and Central Hove). The second area has two wards (Queen’s Park and Hanover & Elm Grove).

Alongside the launch of the Pilot scheme, we will be looking at a variety of ways to keep the project funded and grow to all parts of the City.  Our overall aim is to reduce social isolation amongst all sections of society in the City; not just the Elderly.  We also want to use this initiative to reduce food waste and food poverty in the City and look forward to receiving support from the Brighton Community.

To get involved please join our Facebook Group and follow us on twitter or if you’d like to talk to us about how your business or organisation can get involved, please contact Bright Dials via the Contact Page above.

Casserole Club was developed as an idea by FutureGov, a company that makes public services better and cheaper through elegantly designed digital products.   FutureGov have been able to fund an initial pilot scheme in Brighton with help from the Big Lottery and we are very grateful to them both for their support.