Kind-hearted Edinburgh residents cook meals for the elderly

Kind-hearted neighbours with a flair for cooking have stepped-up to stoves across the city to prepare piping hot meals to elderly members of their community.

Isabella Burns (left) with Corinna Bremer of Meal Makers. Picture: TSPL

As part of food sharing project Meal Makers, volunteers are matched with a vulnerable neighbour who they cook for regularly.

The project aims to reduce food poverty and malnutrition, improve diets and combat social isolation by breaking down barriers that lead to loneliness. Meal Makers are also hoping that the project will help to strengthen connections within communities and provide a flexible way for people to volunteer their time and skills locally.

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And 28-year-old volunteer Corinna Bremer from Chesser said the experience has given her a completely new perspective on life.

She regular cooks soup and cakes for 87-year-old Isabella Burns, a former housekeeper at a doctor’s surgery in Restalrig.

She said: “It has been fantastic for me to meet Isabella and she says that my visit is the highlight of her week. It is also one of my highlights.

“I’m so grateful that I have met Isabella and really value our friendship. She has opened my eyes to what it’s like being an elderly person in Edinburgh.

“Growing old can be an awfully scary and lonely experience. I don’t think we always appreciate how isolated, scared and lonely people may feel when they are no longer as mobile as they used to be.

“Getting to know Isabella has been an eye-opening experience and I feel that I have 
developed a lot more empathy for other people around me.

“For Isabella it is nice to have someone around on Sunday afternoons who she trusts and who she can have a good chat and a hot meal with.”

The project, which has so far seen volunteers share more than 7500 meals and spend and impressive 7000 hours befriending older people in communities across Scotland, launched in Edinburgh in February 2016 and is keen to hear from members of the community who could benefit from a volunteer cook.

The project leader Emma Black enthused as she said: “We are delighted with how many volunteers have signed up to cook in Edinburgh so far. I’d urge older adults who might be interested in receiving a lovely home-cooked meal to get in touch, because as one of our diners said to me recently ‘a lovely neighbour bringing me some lovely food – what’s not to like?”

Corinna added: “At the time I thought it would be wonderful to provide a nutritious meal to someone who may not be able to cook for themselves anymore, but since then I have come to realise that the biggest value of my visit to Isabella comes from simply sitting down with her and having a chat.”

“I tell her about my life and she tells me about hers,” she says smiling, “it’s that simple.”