A CAFÉ and community organisation in New Cumnock have joined up to develop a series of online cooking lessons to encourage residents to get creative in the kitchen – and to pick up some key skills in the process.

Lynn Mullen, owner of Homemade with Love, has partnered with New Cumnock Development Trust (NCDT) to head up the monthly cooking classes which aim to guide people through quick, easy and tasty recipes from the comfort of their own home, free of charge.

Made possible by funding from the Scottish Government’s Investing in Communities fund, the classes launched via Zoom last week and were a fantastic success with residents of all ages and skill sets, meaning hopes of extending the programme into the summer could be realised.

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Lynn said: “Residents received an agreement that they had to involve themselves in a Zoom meeting which provided a welcome and a chat. We ran through the program of what was going to happen and then they got a letter with the measurements and a box of ingredients.

“They then got an online link for a recipe video which I made on YouTube and they followed that. I think we’ve had 100 per cent success rate so far. The recipe was easy to execute and someone said they’d never made a homemade meal in their life but that they thoroughly enjoyed it. It was really nice to see.

“They made chicken pie, potatoes and veg and even made the pie mix on their own so they did really well.

“We had a meeting with the Development Trust so we’re hoping that a further three months can be added to the plan. Our next session will be in April and then that will take us up to the summer holidays.”

Lynn said the classes are more accessible than other initiatives which may set out certain requirements to participate.

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She continued: “Sometimes these programs are only available to those who don’t work or receive certain benefits but there’s no qualifying agreement for this. It’s available to everyone so we got a whole range of people involved, from 10 to 60 years old. We managed to make a meal that would comfortably feed six people for under £10. The aim of this is that people can learn a skill and make something low cost, healthy and fairly simple.

“We had 15 spaces last week but we’re hoping to take that up to 30 next time. Those who take part can secure a place in the next three sessions and the rest will go into a ballot so there is no discrimination.”

Tammy Borthwick from NCDT added: “It’s great to see what happens when people who have been feeling isolated due to COVID get a chance to try something new and meet other people via Zoom.”