A £100,000 GRANT has secured the future of a group tackling social isolation. . . by getting people around the dinner table.

The six-figure sum from The National Lottery Community Fund will ensure Our Community Kitchen can continue to serve up hearty, homemade food three times a week.

The group, founded last year, regularly attracts an average of 90 people a week to its lunchtime events in Haddington Bowling Club.

Elaine Gale, founder of Our Community Kitchen, revealed the news had sparked an emotional reaction.

She said: “We are all absolutely delighted.

“A few tears were shed when we were told this incredible news!

“This will pay for our staff team for the next three years and so will give us the stability we need to continue what we are doing, to offer more and to look at ways we can become more sustainable in the future.”

The group meets each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 12.30pm, with visitors receiving a three-course freshly cooked meal, plus tea and coffee, for £4.

Menus at the community group range from tomato and rice soup, followed by pork and apple casserole, with a dessert of chocolate brownie, to carrot and lentil soup, followed by fish pie and peas, with apple crumble and custard to finish.

Volunteers have also been working hard to raise money through a series of fundraisers, including a sold out authentic Indian meal, which took place on Saturday.

People wanting to head along to the weekly meals do not need to fit any particular criteria.

Miss Gale said: “There is no age or ability barrier at Our Community Kitchen, which is how a community should be.

“We offer people fresh, home-cooked food and a lovely environment; the rest happens naturally.

“Friendships are formed and are extended outwith into the community.

“GPs and the local hospital are referring people to Our Community Kitchen.

“We know that people present to their GP with anxiety and depression and we know that the underlying contributing factor very often is loneliness or a feeling of being excluded and isolated.

“People who join us around the table and volunteer at Our Community Kitchen are getting involved and contributing, shaping what happens within the charity.

“We want people to feel valued and appreciated.”

Miss Gale thanked everyone who had supported the group both financially and also the volunteers who had donated their spare time to ensure the project had proven a success.

She also praised the bowling club for its support and encouraged more people to go along throughout the week.

Jan Wilson, chairwoman of Haddington’s community council, has sampled the food on offer and felt the group was doing great work.

She said: “It is just an amazing place for people to go.

“It is such a happy atmosphere and the meals are fantastic.

“It is a donation of a minimum of £4 for a three-course meal and coffee and afterwards you can sit in the comfy chairs and have a wee blether.

“It is great for people who are a wee bit more isolated.”