A COMMUNITY kitchen in Musselburgh is cooking up a storm by offering tips on making simple healthy meals at a low cost.

The facility at Musselburgh Baptist Church Hall, New Street, opened thanks to at £4,000 cash boost from the town’s allocation of Scottish Government’s Community Choices Funding.

The Musselburgh Area Partnership received £50,000 earlier this year to give people a direct voice on how the funds should be invested in priorities in their local areas as part of participatory budgeting (PB).

This was supplemented by funding from the area partnership, which allocates a budget from East Lothian Council to a variety of local priorities and initiatives.

The community kitchen was one of 14 relevant projects which met the necessary criteria and was allocated a portion of the cash windfall.

Linda Townend, one of four volunteers at the kitchen, was brought up on a farm in Northern Ireland and was taught cooking by her mum. She said: “We had heard of the community kitchen in Prestonpans and went to see how they run it.

“We applied for the grant and we were absolutely stunned that we got it. We are so grateful for it.”

She explained that the funding helped organisers buy the necessary equipment for five workstations such as induction hobs and cooking utensils.

She said the community kitchen was open to anyone of all ages and abilities who wanted to learn basic cooking skills in a sociable environment.

“It is for the community. It is about teaching people basic cooking skills and using healthy food. Rather than putting on a microwave meal, in my opinion, you can cook a healthy meal cheaper. I also give a lesson on food hygiene, storing and defrosting food,” she explained.

All the ingredients are provided and meals have included lentil soup, meat balls and a pasta sauce, shepherd’s pie, raspberry crumble and spaghetti carbonara.

Afterwards, the food can be eaten when hot or taken home. Recipes are also given out to the cooks.

The group will start up again after the summer holidays on September 10 and takes place from 10.30am to around noon each Tuesday.

Linda said: “Everyone is welcome - they can come on their own or bring friends. It is not just about cooking simple healthy meals at a low cost but helping people feel involved as part of the community. We want it to be a place where people from different backgrounds come together to share the appreciation of food.”

She added: “I like doing new recipes. I am a traditional cook who loves British food and I am passionate about promoting it.”

Telephone Linda on 07979361104 to register.