Surprise visitor inspires artist to cook up recipes for neighbours

Elle Slow-Clayton has worked with her local food pantry to create a cookbook for her community.

A budding young artist has illustrated a book of affordable recipes for her local community.

Elle Slow-Clayton, from Bingham in Edinburgh, teamed up with Community Renewal: Lifting Neighbourhoods Together to create the book, which is now being handed out at the Hays Community Pantry.

Funded by Edinburgh City Council, the project provides affordable and free food and ingredients to people living in the neighbourhoods of Bingham, Magdalene and the Hays.

Elle, who is studying illustration at college, got involved with the initiative after receiving a visit at her door from Erin, a member of the charity’s team.  

After speaking with Elle for five minutes about her community, Erin discovered she was an aspiring artist with lots of love for her neighbours, and they later came up with the idea to create a cookbook.

Elle, 19, told STV News: I was studying art and design at the time and wanted to channel my energies into something. When Erin knocked on my door it was like fate.

“I have lived round here my whole life and I know and love this community so much. People round here are so friendly, but some are isolated and there are families who are struggling right now.

“So, I wanted to create something that was fun, accessible and affordable, and that led me to the cookbook idea.

“I issued a call-out and people came forward and shared their recipes. I was keen that the recipes were affordable and that they were easy to make for elderly residents or residents with disabilities who love to cook but have been impaired in some way.

“I also wanted to get the kids involved, so I have included pages which they can add recipes or drawings or whatever they want.

“Plus, I wanted to use my creative skills, so I have illustrated the book throughout.”

The Hays Community Pantry serves people from some of the most deprived areas in Edinburgh.

Michelle attends the service every week and told STV News how invaluable it wasto her and others like her.

She said: “The pantry has been perfect for me. It’s been helping a lot of people like us. I know with Christmas coming, people out there are freezing cold this winter, so this helps all of us.”

Erin Smith, from Community Renewal: Lifting Neighbourhoods, said: “Our role is to bring residents and people who work with and for the community together to improve quality of life for everyone.

“When we met Elle, her enthusiasm, talent, and love for the area was obvious, and we are proud to have empowered her to realise her vision for the area.

“This is a community-driven project with support from us and other funders like City of Edinburgh Council and Places for People. Now the book is complete, we are giving it out in the Hays Community Pantry, which we co-run with Places for People.

“The pantry provides affordable or free ingredients that can be used to make the recipes in this book.”

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