TWO former nurses from Gargrave have won an award for their community cooking initiative to help prevent isolation among older people.

In 2016 Carol Mercer and Carys Roberts decided to set up a luncheon club at Neville Crescent Community Centre in Gargrave, North Yorkshire, to help elderly Yorkshire Housing residents who were not eating well and who were in danger of becoming socially isolated.

The luncheon club provides home-cooked meals and even delivers them to residents who are unable to get out and about.

Mrs Mercer explained: "We started it about two years ago in September. We haven't been in the village that long, about five years. We started coming to different events and we realised there was nothing like a luncheon club or something to stimulate people.

"We had a lot of support from Yorkshire Housing to get the money to start up.

"It is a relaxed atmosphere, like a bistro. It is not fine dining but it is nice. It is not just the lunch, people stay and play card games. It is so lovely to see it. You feel like you have done something good."

They initially promoted their club by word of mouth and leaflets in the local area. The club is now a popular fixture of the community with up to 22 people attending at a time.

Ms Roberts added: "We cook simple English food; roast beef, chicken and potatoes, everything your mum used to make. The profit we make goes back towards a meal or equipment for us."

The women were awarded last month with a Yorkshire Housing certificate and vouchers by James Haigh, Yorkshire Housing community investment manager.

They said they were shocked when they heard they had won. "It came out of the blue,” said Mrs Mercer. “It is nice to be recognised but we are doing it because we want to do it and it keeps us going.”

Both women said they couldn't do it without the help of Sylvia Pickles, Caroline Leiper and Jennifer Heselton, who give their time to make sure the luncheon club stays afloat.

They added they would like more volunteers and different support groups coming. Everyone over 50 is welcome.