The Community Larder was created as a response to the first lockdown and is a partnership project with Halesworth Volunteer Centre and St Mary’s Church and Blyth Valley Team Ministry. They became aware of increased numbers of people using their foodbank, particularly families and people who were struggling financially or who were furloughed. They also noticed that people were desperate to share their fresh produce – lots of people took advantage of lockdown and the lovely spring and summer in 2020 and grew fresh fruit and veg. Reverend Jane Held, Curate at St Mary’s, had the idea of creating a Community Larder where people could bring their excess tins, fresh food and even household staples to be shared with the whole community.
The Halesworth Community Larder is special. A place where you can bring food, bring and take food, share food and make a donation, or just receive food if you are in need. The Larder is open to everyone, a friendly space where you can get what you need, share and donate the food and household staples you no longer need and get some help and information if you are struggling with a problem.
One beneficiary of the larder – Annie, she has 4 children, all under 9. She uses the Larder once a month when things were tight during lockdown. Her children love the Larder, they usually get a treat and can go and play with the larder Chickens, Faith, Hope and Charity. The Larder volunteers help Annie plan her meals for the week, making sure she has fresh veg and bread. Annie will take usually take some flour and eggs and do some baking for the larder too.
The Suffolk Coronavirus Community Fund played a vital part in providing funding to help get the larder up and running, turning it from 3 trestle tables to a ‘shop’ with racks of food and essential items as well helping them train and support their larder volunteers.
The larder is open to all: no vouchers, no questions asked. We know that people, especially families but older people too, are struggling and feeling the effects of the pandemic. The larder fulfils a vital, practical need but it is also a social place where people can make a contribution as well as get the food and supplies they are short of. We have been very grateful to receive financial support for the larder from the Food & Drink Fund. This will help move to the next phase of the larder, providing a number of community meals and picnics, bringing families and local people together to enjoy food and make the most of the Larder as a positive legacy of these challenging pandemic times.