A SHARED love off food and cooking is bringing Bolton's communities together during the pandemic and helping combat loneliness.

Bolton-based Women in Neighbourhoods (WiN) has been staging online social events centred around food, as well as preparing parcels to cook up a tasting meal to be distributed to those struggling financially.

WiN has been organising regular online cooking session via Zoom, with a different theme every week to cater for everyone's taste ­— which has created a virtual community kitchen where families, friends and other members of the community can meet each other to socialise, share ideas and of course recipes.

Dishes cooked up at the most recent #FridayCookalong included biryani, kebabs, pakora, chicken korma, salads with a huge serving of fun and laughter.

The sessions have helped people overocme lonliness, develop self-confidence and skills, with some now volunteering to lead the popular sessions.

Chief officer of WiN , Gulnaz Brennan said:"The cooking sessions mean a lot to women we have been working with, who have been isolated and these sessions were their only way to meet and see each other. They have laughed, met old friends, made some new ones, improved their confidence and felt valued.

"Foodbox has come to an end, but we have more cooking and fitness sessions planned, thanks to funding from Sport England and The National Lottery Community Fund.”

WiN is a not-for-profit group dedicated to the women of Bolton. WiN helps and supports women in most deprived neighbourhoods throughout Bolton, with the aim of empowering women and promoting gender equality.

The Foodbox project is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport via The National Lottery Fund. To find out more visit website: winbolton.co.uk