A RECIPE for a friendly community has been launched as a taster in Northwich.

The Casserole Club is a unique scheme to banish loneliness through the simple act of sharing a good home-cooked meal.

The project started in Northwich in Monday and will be rolled out across the rest of west Cheshire later this year.

Yvonne Boyle, one of the scheme's co-ordinators, said: "The Casserole Club is about helping combat social isolation by going back to a time where neighbours not only knew their neighbours, but were there to lend a helping hand too.

"This project gives people the chance to get to know one another over a good meal."

Fellow co-ordinator Simone Cobbold added: "The great thing is that you don’t have to be a fantastic cook, you just need to be willing to make a little extra and give a little extra, which really does go a long way to helping others."

The scheme is run by Age UK Cheshire, Cheshire West and Chester Council, the Brightlife project and FutureGov.

It has been launched following a survey by Age UK that shows that 10 per cent of people aged 65 and over described themselves as often or always lonely.

This is an increase from seven per cent a year ago.

Yvonne and Simone spoke to Northwich Town Council about the project at its latest meeting.

Cllr Andrew Cooper said: "We probably all know from our own families that perhaps when you have a life partner or loved one pass away that can lead to social isolation.

"Initiatives like this go a long way to alleviate it and I think we should support it wholeheartedly."

In the scheme cooks make extra portions, which they package up and give to people in need.

Simone said: "There's the role for the older person to have a meal but also a role for the cook – you speak to so many people that love cooking but have lost a partner or their family has moved away.

"To have someone to cook for or buy fresh vegetables for can be beneficial."

Cooks will be expected to complete a short online food hygiene quiz and will be checked by the vetting and barring service.

The Casserole Club Cheshire team will then connect diners with cooks living near them.

For more information visit casseroleclub.com or call Yvonne or Simone on 01606 884449.