ABOUT 400 meals a week are being delivered across Ryedale to those in need thanks to community kitchens.

Ryedale District Council (RDC) is working with the Ryedale Volunteer Network to create new community kitchens across the district, as well as providing meals from the kitchen at its headquarters, Ryedale House.

The kitchen, which is cooking meals for elderly and vulnerable people in Malton and Norton during the Covid-19 crisis, is using district council staff to produce meals that are delivered by Ryedale Volunteer Network volunteers three times a week.

Community kitchens have also been set up in Pickering and Hovingham, meaning about 400 meals a week will be delivered to those who need them.

Cllr Di Keal, who has led on the development of the kitchens for the Ryedale Volunteer Network, said: “We are delighted that RDC has been able to come on board and help providing this much-needed support to the work of the Ryedale Volunteer Network.

“Our fantastic volunteers - almost 600 in total - have been carrying out jobs such as shopping and collecting prescriptions for people who are vulnerable for some weeks, and this is the next step as we recognised that as the lockdown continues many older and vulnerable people are struggling if they can’t get out to purchase meals or ingredients to cook with.

“The meals that have gone out so far have been hugely appreciated and we would like to thank the Malton Cookery School for helping us by providing the meals.

“We now need to increase the number we can provide and the district council, along with Mr Wilf’s Cafe and Lady Lumley’s School in Pickering and the Worsley Arms in Hovingham have stepped up to help.

“We would like to thank everyone who is helping with the kitchens, including our volunteer chefs, the kitchen team at Ryedale House, our dedicated volunteers, local businesses for their food donations and our funders, including North Yorkshire County Council Stronger Communities Team.”

Claire Robinson, development manager, Scarborough & Ryedale Carers Resource, who is leading the Community Support Organisation response to Covid19 in the district, said: “As we work together to support the needs of the community, the Ryedale community kitchens have been an amazing addition to the range of solutions available.

“The coverage across the district with the development of three kitchens has been really welcome as it means we have been able to support people across a wide geographic area.”