03:43AM, Thursday 23 January 2014
'Casserole clubs' for streets have been suggested by the Royal Borough as a way of tackling loneliness.
Yesterday the council's Big Society panel agreed to establish a programme encouraging people to spend time with vulnerable neighbours, dubbed 'the good neighbour scheme'.
One suggestion made at the meeting was that residents could form the clubs, which would involve neighbours cooking extra portions of food and providing a warm meal for vulnerable people living on their own.
Similar schemes are already underway in several London boroughs.
The idea was put forward by Andrew Elkington, the council's head of policy and performance.
He said: "If you cook a meal for six people its just as easy to cook for seven or eight, and make sure that someone down the street gets a hot meal or someone to talk to."
He told the meeting at Windsor Guildhall that loneliness is 'a big problem for the borough'.
This is because of an ageing population and an increasing trend of family members moving away from each other.
Cllr Christine Bateson (Con, Sunningdale) liked the idea. She said: "You do get to know your neighbours and I think it's something you should do, especially if they're elderly."
Cllr Phillip Love (Con, Belmont) lamented there is nothing replacing 'superb social gathering venues' like bingo halls, which has isolated some elderly people.
He said some organisations are already aware of which residents are vulnerable.
"I speak to the police and community warden," he said. "They said police get out and they know there are some houses they call on to make sure they are all right."
Cllr Love suggested public sector organisations, charities and the council get together to map lonely residents.
The council has agreed to work with existing voluntary and public sector services to identify lonely people.
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