Botley Community Larder

One of six larders across Oxford, Botley Community Larder has reimagined how a food bank should work and is building stronger communities through a market-style set-up and club membership.

1,560
Est. number of people
who benefit directly

Our story

Botley Community Larder is one of six larders across Oxford, each in a different locality. We bring surplus food to the community through a partnership between our community and Oxford City Council, SOFEA and FareShare. We are not just a food bank. We welcome ANYONE and EVERYONE. We don't means test. We believe that everyone should be able to access all the food they need, and we're all about the community (and the odd cake from our cafe!).

How it Works:
The larder runs in the form of the club, where members pay a £10 sign up fee and then £3.50 a week for an individual, or £7 per family to receive a great set of benefits:
• Non-perishable food items
• Fruit and veg
• Access to a cafe
• Reduced price on some utilities
• Information and advice on food
• LOTS of food!

By joining the club, local people reduce waste which helps the environment, and have a hub where we can meet others from the area, in turn helping to reduce loneliness and isolation. It can save a lot on your groceries – the equivalent for a family for a week would be £24, which means members could save up to £800 a year.

We run a market-style setup at a local venue where members can pick up their choice of food. We also run a community cafe where you can grab a yummy cake and hot drink to have over a natter with us and others in our community.

It doesn't end there. Our larder is such a great success that we are able to start thinking beyond food. There are more exciting things to come including discounts at local business, reduced prices on utilities and more are on their way.

Behind the Scenes:
FareShare redistribute surplus food from the food industry, working with volunteers to give this to 150 community groups in Thames Valley. Across this area, over 10,000 people benefit directly and each organisation involved saves around £152 per week.

From there, SOFEA have depots in Didcot and Milton Keynes. They deliver food to Botley and the other community larders in Oxford, and we follow their food club model. SOFEA goes beyond food and is focused around three social challenges:
• Young people reaching the end of compulsory education without the skills and behaviours they need to progress successfully, and who have difficulty accessing support
• Members of the community in food poverty
• Food waste ending up in landfill, polluting the environment and contributing to climate change

Bringing the Community Together:
Botley Community Larder and its five counterparts in Oxford have had a huge positive impact for families. Not only do we make food affordable and easily available in a sustainable way, we are a place for people to meet and socialise. At a time where loneliness and isolation are having a big impact on the nation's wellbeing, it is important to create spaces where people can be, meet other members of their community and enjoy each other's company.

Our advice

  • Creating a community space, and being a membership-based scheme, we have taken a different approach to tackle things like food poverty. It changes how we see food and makes it a more comfortable experience for everyone.
  • Working with localities keeps the community aspect, even as we grow. We work in each area of the city separately which creates community spirit, encourages people to get to know each other and means we all have a sense of belonging. It wouldn't be the same if we were one big organisation for everyone, as we couldn't give the larders such a personal touch.

Our metrics

  • Weight of food saved from landfill: 52 tonnes in March 2021 alone. Number of individuals and families impacted.

Read more: https://foodforcharities.com/botley-community-larder/

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