Nottinghamshire based Bestwood Park Church is celebrating after receiving over £7,000 in funding from the Coalfields Community Investment Programme, delivered by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the only organisation dedicated to supporting former mining towns and villages.

The funding, totalling £7,414, will contribute towards the Bestop Kitchen; a social event which invites residents from the local community to eat a nutritious and affordable meal together that has been made from excess food donated by local supermarkets and suppliers.

The event, which is held every Tuesday between 12pm and 2pm at Bestwood Park Church and every third Thursday of the month between 4pm and 6pm, addresses social isolation in the Nottinghamshire area as it attracts up to 100 people every week, many of whom are elderly, providing them with the much-needed space to socialise with others.

Chris Eaton, Community Minister at Bestwood Park Church, comments: “Our community kitchen is a great way to bring local people together around a table and enjoy a healthy meal. The funding received from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust means that we are able to continue to tackle the social isolation of elderly residents and others in our community.”

“The community kitchen also provides signposting services for people who are unemployed or that may be tackling debts or facing financial problems. Becoming a venue that the community can rely upon to access support is at the top of our agenda and the coalfields funding is putting us on the right track to achieve this.”

Andy Lock, Head of Operations (England) for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, comments: “Community kitchens, such as Bestop Kitchen, are a brilliant way to tackle social isolation in our communities. In some instances, older people have little or no contact with friends or family leaving them alone for weeks at a time. Providing them with an opportunity to interact with others and to build friendships is crucial to their general health and mental wellbeing.”

“Coalfield communities face ongoing challenges and Bestwood is no exception. Signposting services, such as advice that will help them to manage debt or unemployment, ensures everyone receives the support they desperately need.”

As the organisation has become a member of Coalfield Community Investment Programme it will continue to be supported by the Trust and will have access to bespoke practical support including access to resources and services such as help with third-party funding applications and bid-writing, to tips on effective promotion and marketing.

Delivered by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the Coalfields Community Investment Programme supports organisations and programmes of activity that meet with three key criteria; to address skills, employment or health.

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust was established in 1999 and is the only organisation dedicated to supporting former mining towns and villages.

Over the years more than 2m people have benefited from support delivered by the organisation. More than 25,500 people have been supported into work, 5,500 jobs have been created or safeguarded, 1.3m people have received the necessary support to help improve their skills and gain qualifications and over 250,000 people have participated in activities that have improve their health.