Casserole is a neighbourhood food sharing scheme that connects people cooking at home with others in their community who could benefit from a home-cooked meal.
Casserole brings people together through the simple act of sharing a meal. The service enables people to share extra portions of home-cooked food with others in their area who may not always be able to cook for themselves. In this way, it uses food to strengthen local relationships, reconnect people in their neighbourhood, and tackle social isolation and loneliness among older/less physically mobile people.
Casserole makes it easy for more people to give more, building this around people’s daily mealtime routine for convenience. The service is completely rethinking traditional meals services – using digital to make it easier to be involved in informal community care, and using food as a social currency to help build new friendships. It’s already helping connect older people with neighbours they wouldn’t otherwise meet.
Run by FutureGov, a social innovation and technology company that works with local government to develop better services, the first pilot began in Reigate and Banstead in Surrey at the beginning of 2012, with funding from the TSB and Design Council’s Independence Matters programme.
- In September 2012, Casserole received press in The Times and on BBC Breakfast, which resulted in interest and support for the service across the country.
- As of March 2014, Casserole is now active in Barnet, Tower Hamlets, Reigate and Banstead, Whitstable and Staffordshire – with more areas on the way soon.
- There are nearly 4,000 cooks signed up across the country. In each active area there are around 100 diners taking part in the service, who have received over 600 meals so far.
Casserole was awarded £50,000 in the second round of the fund (October 2012) to kickstart a Casserole community in Tower Hamlets, working alongside the council on innovative marketing and engagement activities, as well as redesigning and increasing functionality on the website to improve Cook and Diner matching and track social impact.
Some quotes from Casserole members:
“I would love for my grandmother to have this type of service, and that’s why I signed up.” – Natasha, Casserole Cook
“I think it’ll benefit a lot of people once they get to know it, I know I was certainly impressed.” – Betty, Casserole Diner
“It’s just so nice to have a home-cooked meal.”
- Edith, Casserole Diner