A GROUP tackling social isolation through a love of good food has launched its most ambitious fundraiser.

Our Community Kitchen is looking to raise £3,000 through an ‘OCKtastic’ Christmas raffle, with more than 40 prizes up for grabs.

The fundraiser was launched at a special event earlier this month where volunteers at the good cause welcomed volunteers from community groups including Blooming Haddington, Friends of the River Tyne and Haddington Pipe Band.

Elaine Gale, who leads the group, which meets each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Haddington Bowling Club, said: “Our Community Kitchen exists to reduce social isolation and loneliness for people of all ages and abilities in Haddington and the Lammermuir area.

“We use food as a tool to bring people round the table to enjoy each other’s company and make friends.”

Meals on offer range from sweet and sour chicken with rice followed by sticky toffee pudding, to pulled pork burgers and chips, with lemon puddle pudding for dessert.

Miss Gale highlighted the group’s strong links with the community.

Earlier this year, the Walk with Scott Foundation, which was formed by Tranent fundraiser Scott Glynn, donated £1,500 after being impressed by his work.

Miss Gale said: “People are wanting to get involved and feel like it is their own.”

Last month, the group, which serves up a three-course meal for £4 to an average of 90 people a week, secured £100,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund.

The money is to be used to pay for the staff team for the next three years.

The volunteers are looking to add to that through a series of events to raise money for anything from buying ingredients and subsidising the cost of meals to hiring entertainment or buying birthday cakes for regular visitors.

Linda Mitchell, voluntary fundraiser, encouraged people to buy raffle tickets ahead of the draw on December 19.

She said: “The prizes for our raffle have not only been donated by our great businesses in the town but our own Our Community Kitchen guests have also donated.

“The prizes, which range in value from £10 to £300, can be won by buying a ticket for £1.

Tickets are available from Joe Forte Sports, Haddington Wines & Whiskies, Pear Tree Nursery and any other business displaying the poster.”