A lottery funded project is using the magic of food to bring people together, connect and share their stories over a cooked meal.

Local Welcome has ambitious plans to set up cooking hubs in a 100 cities in the UK and one of the first is set to be launched at the Parchmore Centre in Thornton Heath with the aim of making it fun and easy to cook and eat with refugees in your community. 

In a world which has become more divided and harder to trust people, where more people are becoming isolated  and strangers in their community, this idea is a  simple, that you cook and eat with refugees and other people, like you, to make them feel at home.

You join a table. On this table will be other members like you, refugees who are your guests and a table leader. You’ll pair up with a guest and your table leader will guide everyone through a set of recipe instructions.

At each stage you’ll have a question to answer like: ‘What’s your favourite meal?’ or ‘What are you looking forward to next week?’ It goes something like: grate, chat, chop, talk, peel, listen.

A Local Welcome spokesman said: “In a divided world, making the time to connect with someone different from yourself is a radical act! 

“You might start cooking together as strangers, but you’ll end up eating as friends.”

Local Welcome membership costs £5 per month which covers the cost of  food and equipment.

There will be a training event for local leaders at the Parchmore Centre on Sunday April 7 with regular meals starting from May onwards. To get involved: