A POPULAR Asian lunch service in Rose Hill which faced closure for lack of funding has been saved by Lottery money.
The lunch has been running at Rose Hill Children’s Centre in Ashhurst Way every Thursday for seven years.
When its future was in doubt, the Lottery-funded Rose Hill Regeneration Project stepped in to help to cover the cost of ingredients at £30 a week.
Cook Khamim Hussain, who lives in Rose Hill, said: “It’s a very popular service and it’s great for the community that the lunch is continuing.
“I love cooking and it also gives me the chance to be creative with food.
“Whilst working here I have received my food hygiene certificate and become more confident.”
Ms Hussain cooks traditional recipes including curries with colleagues and friends Shazia Rashid and Sajida Sultana, who are also from Rose Hill.
Friend Parveen Akhtar acts as an interpreter and helper.
More than 40 adults and children from a variety of cultures including Asian, Nepalese, British, Moroccan, Iranian, Egyptian and Iraqi attend every week.
Rose Hill resident and mother-of-three Rachel Tilbrook has been going to the lunch every week for the past six years.
She said: “It’s a great opportunity to eat authentic Indian cooking that’s affordable. It’s always busy and it’s a real centre of this part of the community.”
The three cooks have also enrolled on an intensive English language course to build their customer service skills. And it is hoped a volunteer training programme will be run with the lunch by the Lottery team so that residents can learn the skills needed to run a business.
Volunteer regeneration project co-ordinator Ali Hall said: “We’re delighted to be able to have a hand in bringing such a diverse community together. It’s a real opportunity for the ladies because they will have the chance to develop their skills through training and look forward into expanding it as a business.
“They have already booked their first catering job at a community event, and we hope that in the future the ladies can deliver the lunch as their own social enterprise.”
The lunch runs every Thursday at the children’s centre in Ashhurst Way from noon and costs £2.50.