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.
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.