Casserole Club Story: Vijaya and Tom

This Christmas, we’re asking our Cooks to share a portion of their Christmas dinner with an older neighbour this Boxing Day. We’re calling it the #CasseroleChristmas campaign.

To inspire you, we’ll be sharing stories from current Casserolers, so you can get a feel for our community and find out the difference you can make through Casserole Club.

Inspired by Tom and Vijaya’s story? Sign up now to Casserole Club.

  • Casserolers: Vijaya (Cook) and Tom (Diner)
  • Location: Barnet, London
  • Dates: Matched in June 2013
  • Meals shared: Approximately 20
  • When: Every Sunday afternoon

Casserole Club's Tom and Vijaya

Vijaya’s Casserole Club Story

Vijaya is a Casserole Club Cook. She has cooked for Tom over twenty times now, having shared a wide variety of food from chicken curry, pumpkin soup to shepherds pie.

Not being content with just delivering one extra portion, Vijaya usually delivers two, so Tom is guaranteed to have at least two hot meals a week:

Vijaya joined Casserole Club after hearing about it from a work colleague:

“I think its fabulous, I’ve said that from the beginning. When I usually deliver his meal, I bring enough for two days. It’s nice to know I can give somebody a home cooked meal. To me that is important.”

After signing up, the Casserole Club matchmaking team introduced her to Tom. Even though Tom lives twenty minutes drive away from Vijaya, she has found the time since July to visit him once a week.

Since meeting Tom, Vijaya has got to know all about him, his family and his hobbies. When she goes over to deliver his meal, she usually stays for a cup of tea and they talk in detail about Tom’s family life and what he is getting up to over the week to come.

Having got to know Tom, Vijaya is concerned for his wellbeing. When she goes to visit him she not only asks about what is currently happening in his life, but also offers friendly advice on who to speak to in certain situations:

“There are probably a lot of people who don’t go out, so they’re not getting that hot meal and that’s the biggest problem. I will do Casserole Club until I can’t do it anymore.”

Although Vijaya has got to know Tom very well over the last five months, she would also like to meet new Diners in her area. She would like to meet other older people who would benefit from sharing one of her home cooked meals and getting to know a friendly neighbour.

Vijaya’s passion for the project is obvious. Although she is concerned about not being able to Cook for Tom forever, she trusts Casserole Club to locate new Cooks for Tom when she feels she is unable to share her food for him any longer.

Tom’s Casserole Club Story

Tom is a Casserole Club Diner. He lives alone in a flat in West Barnet where he shares a weekly meal with Vijaya, his current Casserole Club Cook.

Tom signed up to Casserole Club at a day centre he goes to twice a week. Although he likes to go to this centre, it’s opening hours have recently changed from five to two days a week. This means he spends more time in his flat than before:

Although he could go to another local day centre, he feels he may not fit in with people he doesn’t know. This means that his social group is getting smaller.

Tom has been sharing food with Vijaya since July and looks forward to his meal share every week. When she comes over they sit and chat about everything from his latest bingo game to what his family it up to over Christmas. Its clear to see that a friendship has started to grow though sharing a weekly meal:

“I rather like it. It’s just somebody to come over. It’s nice, it’s just what I wanted.”

Being an avid bingo player, Tom likes to keep Vijaya updated with the latest bingo politics. Knowing this Vijaya has even offered to go and play soon with him.

Although Tom and Vijaya’s friendship has grown, he is still very grateful every week when she comes to visit him. Every time the matchmaking team speak to him after a meal share, he always has good things to say about his Cook.

Although Tom is still amazed that people would bother cooking for him, he now is able to see that the project is growing . He can see that local people do want to meet and get to know him over a home cooked meal.

Thanks to Tom and Vijaya for sharing their thoughts with us.

Inspired by Tom and Vijaya’s story? Sign up now to Casserole Club.

Surrey’s New Campaign Could Provide Inspiration to Casserole Cooks

Hey, Casserole Cooks! Feeling stuck when thinking of a delicious meal to make for your Diner from your leftovers? Surrey County Council is here to help with their new Love Food Surrey campaign and accompanying Facebook application.

With staggering facts about how much food Surrey alone wastes each year (over 75,000 tonnes!), the Love Food Surrey campaign offers an interactive platform for people to share their creative recipes and tips to make the most of their leftovers. So stop tossing those apples that are a little too soft, and the banana that has some brown spots on it, and use it to make Fruit Bowl Muffins! Soak your wilting greens in cold water to salvage them for your sandwich, and save your money for something you don’t already have in your fridge.

In honor of the new application, the person with the most likes on their posted recipe will receive a gift, generously donated by local fine food and drink companies. The competition closes on 31 December, so get signed up and post your best leftovers recipe!

Love Food Surrey makes using leftover food and saving money easy! Click here to like their application on Facebook and gain access to their online campaign. Then visit Casserole Club to find a Diner near you who would appreciate a portion of your home cooked meal! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to find out more ways to get involved with your community.

Casserole’s Featured Organisation of the Month: Here To – Islington

Chris is Here To share is organising skills

Hello Casserolers, sorry we’ve been absent the past couple of weeks, but we’re back and chock full of new and interesting information!

Today’s Featured Organisation is one called Here To – Islington.  Here To is a project that encourages people to get involved in their community without all the obligations that can sometimes turn people off of volunteering.  To describe what they do, Here To uses the phrase “micro-volunteering”.  This means that you volunteer a few seconds/minutes/hours of your time- as much as you want to spare- to different volunteering projects all over the borough.  There’s no long-term obligations, just simple, sometimes one-off, participation.

In order to gain the attention of more micro-volunteers, Here To has organised an entire day to take over Islington and spread the word! Can you guess what they’re calling this event? That’s right, the Here To Takeover!

This Wednesday, 25 September, from 9:00 am until 8:00 pm, two Here To ‘Wizards’, Katherine and Casey, will be wandering all over the borough talking to people about Here To – Islington.  But they’re not stopping there! To prove they cannot only talk the talk, but walk the walk, the Here To Wizards will be volunteering some of their time on the day to local organistions in any way they can.  This can range from making a cup of tea, to filing, to helping brainstorm an event.  They want to be real-life examples of how easy (and rewarding) volunteering can be!

Their schedule for Wednesday is as follows:

At each event they will be explaining how Here To works (for residents and organisations), making seed bombs, offering home-baked goods, showcasing the website & signing people up, taking pictures with the Photomatic Machine, and offering their Secret Skills to people (and accepting requests on Twitter and Facebook, as well).

If you, or someone you know, lives in the Islington area stop by and say hi.  Get to know more about them while taking part in a fun, high-energy environment!

If you do not live in the area, please help us spread the word!  You can like them on Facebook or tweet them on Twitter @HereToIslington with #HereToTakeover.

And to close this post, we’d like to end with what Here To had to say about the event:

“The Here To Takeover is all about getting more people excited and inspired about a new way of helping out locally and to get as many people as possible supporting the movement.

If you’re interested in using your free time better to meet personal goals, we’d love to see you there at a time and location that suits you!”

Happy Micro-Vlounteering!