THE doors to Dollar Academy's kitchen have swung wide open for a community food project supporting elderly shielding or self-isolating people nearby.

The Lunch Club at Home by The Playpen Café has moved into the academy's extensive facilities to better support people with free home-cooking and to connect with the community through food.

Hearty soups, warming lunches as well as home-baked cakes and treats are supporting people around Dollar and Muckhart with around 90 food packages going out a week.

The project is funded by Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface, the Wellbeing Fund and Dollar Community Development Trust to help create a café experience at home for people who are unable to access their usual places to socialise.

Alexandra Ostroumoff-Croucher, who normally runs mobile play café The Playpen and is leading the project, said: “I was over the moon that Lunch Club at Home was offered use of the kitchen at Dollar Academy and I feel very lucky indeed for this opportunity.

“Up to now I have undertaken all the cooking from my council-registered home kitchen and haven’t been able to take up any offers of help from volunteers in my home due to social distancing.

“The chance to move into such large and well-equipped facilities means we can now take on volunteers – many of whom are highly skilled home cooks and even chefs on furlough, all of which will help ensure the high quality of the food we produce.”

The initiative enjoys the support of rector Ian Munro who took up his post in July 2019 as well as catering manager Paul O'Donnell, who visits the kitchen daily during lockdown and has also become a helping hand for the community project.

Alexandra added: “I’d like to say a very big thank you to the rector and Paul O’Donnell for their support and community spirit during these challenging times.”

Deliveries of food parcels, which go out twice a week, are supported by volunteers at Dollar Community Development Trust and the Muckhart Lend a Hand group.

They also provide some friendly chat on the doorstep, while socially distancing, to combat loneliness and isolation.

Since starting a few weeks ago, more than 250 meals have been sent out and there is a network of 50 local volunteers helping in the kitchen, packing up food parcels and making deliveries.

It is understood additional money from the Wellbeing Fund will support the roll out of the initiative to Crook of Devon, Powmill and Blairingone.

To find out more about the initiative, contact Alexandra via or find the Lunch Club at Home by the Playpen Café page on Facebook.