A CROWDFUNDER has been launched to provide a warm, weekly community lunch for Clackmannanshire senior residents amid the economic crisis.

The Village Kitchen CIC, run by Alexandra Ostroumoff-Croucher and formerly known as the Playpen Café CIC and Lunch Club at Home, is looking to reach its £5,000 stretch goal for the initiative.

The aim is to provide weekly community lunches during the current difficult times in what can be a “vital service” to help provide food security, a warm space and a chance to meet friends.

And indeed, people are already getting behind the idea, with nearly £3,700 raised by the time of writing thanks to generous donors and match funding by Co-op Warm Spaces.

Alexandra, whose third sector organisation was quick to respond to the pandemic by implementing a meals-on-wheels type service, said: “Our elderly beneficiaries and our organisation as a whole has been greatly affected by the economic crisis we all find ourselves in.

SOCIAL AND LUNCH: The club has been a real lifeline for seniors in the area

SOCIAL AND LUNCH: The club has been a real lifeline for seniors in the area

“Spiralling energy and food costs are putting pressure on the most vulnerable in our community including the over 65s.

“As a third sector organisation, we are also feeling the impact with ever-increasing costs of food, food packaging, rent and utilities; combined with a drastic decrease in food donations from our local supermarkets and charity partner Fareshare.”

She added: “We want to create a long-term sustainable community lunch for the coming year, providing a warm and welcoming space, with high quality, nutritious and plentiful meals for our guests.”

The fundraiser has already reached its original £3,000 goal, but £5,000 would ensure longer-term financial security.

During the pandemic, the home delivery service proved a real lifeline to many around Dollar, Muckhart and wider Clacks during what was a worrying time.

The project continues to this day while Alexandra and the team began to safely bring elderly beneficiaries out of their homes and into The Hive, where the meals are prepared, for a social, hearty lunch as soon as possible as well.

The lunch clubs see between 25 and 35 guests each week, enjoying a delicious three-course meal and often, some live entertainment.

SOCIAL AND LUNCH: The club has been a real lifeline for seniors in the area

SOCIAL AND LUNCH: The club has been a real lifeline for seniors in the area

The kitchen also sends out between 200 and 250 two-course meals every month as well while providing meals to patients coming home from Forth Valley Royal Hospital as part of the Forth Valley Home from Hospital Partnership.

Alexandra, who is working with Dial-a-Journey to bring residents in, said: “Our services have a hugely positive impact on our beneficiaries physical health, providing quality and nutritious meals to ensure a healthy diet with plenty of meat, fish, fruit, veg and dairy.

“We also greatly enhance quality of life and independence for our local seniors, allowing them to care for themselves in their own homes, preparing their own meals."

Visit bit.ly/3ZDWCxx to donate by March 28, when funds will be released.