Exmouth Larder Logo

2013 reports from Exmouth Community Larder

2013 Start up Report : January 2013
(For nostalgia about the early days!!)

In summary, we are now up and running and ready to serve growing needs in the community. Just two months ago shelves were put up in what is now the Larder food store in the Salvation Army building. Three car loads of food brought in from Open Door on 2nd November. The meeting of the Steering Committee on 9th November established Rev Benedict Cambridge, Richard Collins, Colin Napper, Major Steve Watson and a representative of Holy Ghost (later named as Angie Goodrich) as the likely Trustees, Anthony Bernard as Manager and Tim Davies as Deputy Manager, but the formation of a CIO would take several months. Major Steve already had the approval of The Salvation Army HQ to move forward, so to get things started the Exmouth Community Larder has started under the auspices of the Salvation Army.

An information meeting had been set for Wednesday 14th November. There was a good turnout from Exmouth church people, 30 flyers had been printed but we ran out as about 50 people came. Many volunteers signed up to help and we already had food in store so we announced a first opening of the Exmouth Community Larder for 2pm on Friday afternoon 16th November 2012.

The opening of the 16th was too quick for any clients, but it was an opportunity for the 16 volunteers who turned up to discuss the basic organisation. We established a team of welcomers, led by Chris Barker-Bey, who would interview clients and make tea, a team of sorters who would organise the larder itself and produce food parcels and also a team of collection and delivery drivers. Each team arrived at a concensus as to how they would operate, at least to start with.

Contact was made with the press to announce the formal launch set for Friday 23rd November. This resulted in mentions on the BBC TV West Country Spotlight, a radio interview and most valuable of all two articles on consecutive weeks in the Exmouth Journal, 23rd November and 30th November and again on the 7th December in the freely distributed Exmouth Herald. Talking to Becca Gliddon, the reporter, she took hold of the important point that most people in food emergency will be reluctant to draw attention to themselves; the headline "Don't be afraid to ask for help" in the Exmouth Herald of 7th December says it well.

A website was established from the start, providing a reference point for further information and the opportunity to download posters and information flyers. It continues to grow and all the documents referred to in this report, except the vouchers themselves, can be downloaded. The links to download items are set out in the appendix below. On Friday 23rd November the launch meeting was attended by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. The purposes and policies of the Exmouth Larder were outlined; enough food had been sorted for the larder itself to look organised for photographers, there were some referral agencies signed up as well as more volunteers, and later in the afternoon our first client arrived with a voucher. This time 60 flyers had been printed and we had just a few left over! 2,500 flyers have since been printed, so there are plenty for all who want them.

The welcome team is fortunate to include people with current volunteering experience at Open Door and at the C.A.B. for whom dealing with clients is not a new experience. Chris Barker-Bey has done a brilliant job leading this team and establishing excellent working practices. The sorters quickly settled into a cheerful and well ordered team with Richard Ward emerging as its leader. The delivery team has not had a great deal of action; two members diligently show up at 3.30pm on the days we are open to carry out any delivery requirements and I suspect look forward to a greater need for their services which will surely come.

The Larder has been open Monday and Friday afternoons, as advertised, since 23rd November, including Monday Christmas Eve and Monday New Year's Eve. During this time several churches make regular deliveries of food. The Salvation Army Hall is also open on Sundays and Thursdays when they have kindly taken in food on our behalf, and also some deliveries arrive at Open Door. One task for January is to organise this better, probably having our own team make some collections at suitable times and places.

We are blessed with an abundance of generosity from churches and others with food and also some cash. I am sure our needs will increase and we will need to become more active in seeking donations, but for the moment the churches themselves, and some non-church groups and individuals, are doing a wonderful job and we have an adequate food supply.

By the 31st December 2012, 26 food parcels have been handed out, feeding 39 people including children. 3 people have received supplies more than once with suitable vouchers; one person was denied food at his second request - he was asking on behalf of other people, he was told that the individuals needing help should come themselves to us or to a recognised agency. So we can truly say that we are "up and running" with working policies, both supportive and sensible in dealing with those in need.

Our management has evolved as we have grown. At first everyone lept on a client arriving, making multiple offers of tea or coffee; later everyone gathered round to "mother" a homeless man - actually the individual was someone with whom several of us are on good terms through Open Door so we were able to obtain his feedback later!! We now have a clear policy that there are just two people behind the welcome desk and a third to offer and produce tea or coffee. After one episode of over enthusiasm we do not go round to the store for fresh provisions; if a client is homeless or "no fixed abode" we limit what we give to the basics of corned beef and baked beans in self opening tins - a more varied diet isn't practical without a kitchen!!

We also had the experience of a single man arriving in an apparently desparate state; while his parcel was being prepared one of our volunteers chatted to him and he left after nearly an hour thanking us for the advice, above all for listening to him and added "including the food". The most important help seemed to be that we treated him as a real person.

The above stories will be no surprise, but they are real and illustrate that we are evolving positively and in doing so discovering good skill levels among our volunteers.

In addition to the 2,500 general flyers, an information leaflet for referral agencies is being printed as required and given to supporting referral agencies together with booklets of 10 vouchers. This information leaflet is available to dowload from the website and we have an e-voucher which can be sent by email in MS Word for agencies to copy, complete and email back to us. The authentication is the source of the incoming email and this has worked well with agencies who are a few miles out of Exmouth; it also avoids the possibility of the client losing the actual voucher.

We are in contact with a broad selection of agencies. CAB, Open Door, SAFE, Health Visitors, Devon Drug Service and Homes that Smile have actually referred clients so far and many others have vouchers and expect to use the service as needs arise. With SAFE (Stop Abuse For Everyone) we have established that they can describe a client using their own reference code or alias to preserve individul anonymity. This still allows us to monitor how many parcels go to any one client. We will shortly start sending a confidential email to each of the referral agencies listing their clients that we have served. This will enable them to correlate what we do with what they expect. This may highlight fraudulent vouchers, but more likely may flag instances where vouchers have been issued but the client has not followed through.

Most important of all, working with and for the volunteers continues to be a pleasure and a privelege; any concern that slow progress would result in lowered motivation is absolutely not the case; the Exmouth Community Larder already has a culture, ethos and motivation of its own, independent of any particular manager; it is a pleasure to "go to work"! However, this is only the end of the beginning, and we now need some basic organisational steps in the day to day management. In particular, procedures need to be documented and additional volunteers drawn in from those who have already signed up. For that we need to organise an induction meeting to build constructively on what we have. Early in January we will have a planning meeting to take this forward.

Functionally, we need to improve our arrangements with the churches over the collection and delivery of food. This is also in the agenda for January; the ideal would be an agreed collection time or delivery from each church that is so generously providing food. The website is being updated so that current news and priorities are easily visible to all our supporters, and that is in process.

Having the food sorters work while we are open for clients will not be practical if we get busy; we will need to have sorters dealing with incoming food at a different time and dealing with outgoing parcels while we are open. Since only three people can efficiently work in the room at any one time we will no doubt organise separate shifts; we have enough volunteers. This will also evolve during January, the actual plan needs to come from a concensus within the sorting team themselves.

Financially we have some money; a few gifts amounting to 60 cash, 30 in Boots vouchers (useful for toothpaste, nappies etc) and about 85 cheques paid in via CTE. Volunteers have been paying for things that are needed; milk, biscuits etc. on a day to day basis. I intend from 1st January 2013 to establish that ALL expenses from now on are paid from Exmouth Larder funds, whether or not individuals may wish to make donations.

For communications, emails to ExmouthLarder@aol.com now arrive promptly on the mobile phones of both Anthony and Tim, so urgent client information from agencies reaches us quickly. Emails are also, of course, read and answered from a normal computer. In general Anthony is responding to emails, Tim has the dedicated Larder phone (07749 322291).

The original plan for an independent CIO has been on hold but does not affect the day to day running of the Exmouth Larder. That is a separate subject in the capable hands of Richard Collins for the moment. Meanwhile the Exmouth Community Larder continues under the legal umbrella of the Salvation Army while remaining an initiative of Christians Together in Exmouth.

Update : 30th January 2013

The Exmouth Community Larder is now up and running, serving ten or more packages (families) per week supported by donations from all the local churches and run by volunteers from at least 10 of our Exmouth Churches. Without doubt, demand will continue to grow, especially when revised Benefit rules start in April.

THANK YOU to all the churches for contributing to this quick start-up.

In the 10 weeks since we started the Exmouth Larder has evolved into a smooth working team, due mainly to the energy, patience and consistent effort of the original group of volunteers. Following the recent training meetings there are now a total of 32 volunteers, many with very relevant experience.

The stock room is being equipped with new and better shelving which will enable a growing demand to be handled efficiently.

More than ten local agencies, from the Citizen's Advice Bureau and Open Door to NHS support agencies and Health Visitors are referring their clients to us. We maintain a policy of providing food to anyone who is in a genuine food emergency, whether they arrive with a referral voucher or not.

However, we do expect clients to come to terms with the underlying crisis. In practical terms, that means we will supply them a second time only if they have a referral voucher from an agency that can help them out of their problem. We believe we owe it to our many and generous donors that food is distributed responsibly; we should help people with a food emergency, but also help them to take responsibilty for their situation and their future.

It has been decided to continue under the umbrella of the Salvation Army; the managers are now responsible to a Board representing local churches chaired by Major Steve Watson of the Salvation Army. Cash donations can therefore be Gift Aided through the Salvation Army, which is, of course, a registered charity - and indeed a charity for whom distributing food is one of its main social activities.

www.exmouthlarder.co.uk is the website for the Exmouth Community Larder giving more news and information - the latest food needs are posted on the opening page weekly!

Bless you for your support ...... this is only the start ...... the next newsletter may well be an impassioned request for more food donations!!

Food News .......... We are currently short of the following items:
Long-life milk     40's tea bags     jars of pasta sauce     coffee     tinned fish
fruit squash     small boxes cereals     pkts rice     toothpaste     shampoo

Larder latest .... 15th March 2013

The first half of March has been very busy; we are headed towards our busiest month; 26 packages have been provided so far, feeding 55 people. Referrals are coming from an ever widening group of schools, social workers and support agencies.

Our volunteer team is working smoothly, and above all our supporters are bringing food which keeps us supplied and reasonable stocked without touching cash donations which we can hold in reserve.

Exmouth Larder graph

Graph showing users and people served month by month (March only to 15th)

Currently we are short of Squash, Tinned Custard, Tinned Tomatoes, Tooth brushes, Savoury biscuits (crackers), Choc bars, and Treats which we hope will include Easter eggs!! Our website is regularly updated with details.

Two weeks ago we reported a quiet February, but it gave us the chance to rebuild the shelving in the stockroom to make more efficient use of the space without a break in serving people.

Two training and induction meetings 6 weeks ago brought in additional volunteers so we are now well staffed and operating smoothly, A few volunteers have left us; we owe a debt to all who worked with us from the beginning as we have all evolved from experience.

Visit the website www.exmouthlarder.co.uk for current news and pictures.

The "giving" section of the website has been expanded to help those who want to give cash and to use the Gift Aid scheme. Go to www.exmouthlarder.co.uk./giving/ and look for the "cash and gift aid" link. Cash enables us to build reserves which have no sell-by date. We had a substantial donation from Exmouth Rotary which you may have seen in the Exmouth Journal - see picture below.

Exmouth Larder Logo
Major Steve receives the cheque from Rotary.

Bless you all for your support - we count 16 churches and 4 non-church groups bringing food or cash, maybe others that we have not identified. Our volunteers come from twelve churches and some with no church! We try to work as an example and witness of joined-up Christianity.

Larder latest .... 15th April 2013

With all Benefit changes and the problems they will bring it is easy to lose track of the very ordinary problems which are bringing people into a Food Emergency. Our clients are coming from a wide range of circumstances, most simply represented by the number of instances that a wide variety agencies have referred people to the Larder :-
    Agency    Proportion
CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) 21%
Open Door Centre 21%
Walk-in 15%
EDDC Housing benefits 8%
NHS Rehabilitation 7%
EDDC Disability support 6%
Churches / church groups 3%
    Agency    Proportion
Special Housing Associations 5%
NHS - G.P. / health visitors 3%
Social services 3%
Stop Abuse for Everyone 3%
Glenorchy Work club 2%
Schools 2%
Christians against Poverty 1%

The wide range of agencies also gives us confidence that we are pretty well known around the community, though surprised that churches and schools have not identified more people in need.

March was our busiest month so far with 50 parcels given out enabling approximately 950 meals to 81 people. Food donations continue to arrive; The Rotary Club, Curves, Jehovah's Witnesses and St Swithin's CofE Church Woodbury are now added to our list of benefactors. A sponsored run along Hadrian's Wall has been promised - more on that later.

The volunteer team would like to thank everyone, and note with pleasure that the Community Larder is truly becoming a Community venture. We feel well placed to meet the growing demand which will be our challenge before long.

The weekly arrival of non-perishable food from so many churches continues to be the lifeline that keeps the Exmouth Community Larder able to help people in need.

Currently we are short of squash, long life milk, sugar, shampoo and toilet rolls, very over- stocked on soups, beans and teabags but doing all right on other items. Overstocking is simply the result of your wonderful response to previous bulletins!!


Larder latest .... 15th May

Thanks for all the support which has plugged the gaps in our shelves. Our greatest shortages are now .. Tinned potatoes / Smash, Sauces (such as : Pasta / Curry / Sweet and Sour / carbonara), Shampoo, Shower gel and deoderant, and treats.

We are still more than well stocked with beans, soups and vegetables except potatoes.

Demand seems to have settled to 70 / 80 people served each month but we have not yet seen any significant number affected by the changes in the Benefit system.

Exmouth Larder Logo
The graph of usage is above; note only a few days in May are included.

We will be represented in the CTE tent at the Exmouth Festival on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th May and welcome all and anyone who would like to make direct contact and learn more about how the Larder is serving the Community - providing joined-up Christianity, but also with volunteeers and supporters not from any church.

The Exmouth Journal published an article "Getting people back on their feet" (page 6, 9th May edition) about the Larder. It stressed the most important point that people needing help should not be embarrassed to seek it. Our experience is that those people most genuinely needing and deserving help are the most diffident asking for it! Their only embarrassment should be if they fail to give back a few years later, when we hope they are back on their feet!!!!

Anyone who wants to see the Exmouth Community Larder in action is welcome to visit while we are open - Mondays after 3pm is best; it is busiest just after opening. As you wil find, the Exmouth Community Larder is a whole team of people working together.

Urgent update .... 26th June 2013

We ran out of long life milk, small jars of coffee, tinned tomatoes and tinned spaghetti.

Cash donations were used to replenish these, but we do URGENTLY need long life milk, small jars of coffee, tinned tomatoes, tinned spaghetti and also jars or packets of sauces to go with pasta or rice.

We continue to have a glut of soups and beans and plenty of meat meals and fish.

June is a record month; the graph speaks for itself with Friday 28th still to come....
Exmouth Larder graph

Our volunteers continue to do a wonderful job; despite clients coming in surges we have rarely kept anyone waiting more than 10 minutes; the stockroom is now a well oiled machine keeping tally of donations and parcels going out. Below is their record of packages going out, showing what was given in each category.

Exmouth Larder Logo

More news on the website, including plans for a distribution point in Budleigh Salterton for food collected there, when volunteers and a venue are agreed. THANK YOU for your continued support, which we hope to be expressed in the form of long life milk, small jars of coffee, tinned tomatoes and tinned spaghetti, which is where this report started! The Bible does make a virtue of persistence....!!
Blessings !!!!

HELP! - Larder report, 31st July 2013

July was the most demanding month so far. A wonderful team of volunteers and the systems that have evolved were all equal to the busiest days, but we seriously need to increase donations of food to keep abreast of demand.

Demand has now rocketed to nearly twice the level we had in March, April and May. Referrals are all from reliable agencies; there are real problems among our less affluent neighbours. This was always to be expected but has taken a while to reach us.

We are therefore desperate to increase the donations of food, or indeed cash with which we can buy basic provisions at wholesale or heavily discounted prices.

Long life milk, pasta and pasta sauces, jams and tinned rice pudding are the most urgent items. As in the June report, we are using cash reserves to prop up these items for the moment; cash donations always welcome (which can be Gift Aided, see below)

As Harvest Festivals come closer, we are hopeful that these will provide an opportunity to restock our reserves, but meanwhile we are working from one week to the next.

Exmouth Larder Logo

The image above shows very graphically how July is the highest yet. Given the size of Exmouth our figures are not out of line; the challenge now before us is to show that our generosity can match the demand.

So please, please, encourage donations of food or cash. Make cheques payable to The Salvation Army, Exmouth Corps endorsed Exmouth Larder on the back.

Anyone wanting to see how we work is welcome to visit when we are open, more information is available on the website, www.exmouthlarder.co.uk, including a Gift Aid form to download.

God bless you all.

Larder report, 31st August 2013

First, a big THANK YOU for the generous surge in donations which has matched the surge in demand! August demand has been very comparable to the July record.

A Budleigh Salterton distribution point is opening on Thursday 19th September in the Catholic Church hall in Clinton Close from 9.30am till 11.30am, and weekly thereafter.

We continue to look forward to Harvest Festivals in the hope that these will restock our reserves. Long life milk, pasta sauces, jams and tinned rice pudding are still needed; BUT we are bursting with pasta due to your excellent response to earlier appeals!!

Our cash reserves have been boosted by a 500 donation following Jim Hunter's sponsored run in the 69 mile "ultra-marathon" in support of Open Door and The Larder. More people are finding it convenient to give cash enabling us to purchase basics through wholesalers; cash gifts can be Gift Aided, see www.exmouthlarder.co.uk .

There has been a shift in the agencies referring clients, illustrated below. The Open Door Centre emerges as the most important support agency helping clients resolve the underlying crisis which causes their food emergency. "Other" is mainly NHS and other agencies identifying people who need help due to medical and rehabilitation problems. Exmouth Larder Logo The increase in referrals from EDDC Revenue and Benefits dept indicates a growing need following the "benefit changes"; people with medical and rehabilitiation problems seem badly caught out by the changes.

Blessings to all, pray for our clients and "teach us, Lord, to serve you as you deserve...."

Larder report, 30th September 2013

Demand continues to rise, September exceeded the August record by about 10%. We are now really are short of most things but keeping abreast using your generous cash donations we had saved up. Publishing particular shortages has resulted in alternate feast and famine, so we'll just take everything that you generously provide!!

Exmouth Larder Budleigh Centre A Budleigh Salterton distribution centre is now open from 9.30am - 11.30am every Thursday morning in the Catholic Church Hall on Clinton Terrace. So instead of the usual boring graph, a map of Budleigh showing where it is!! Food will come from our Exmouth stocks; Budleigh Salterton Churches are delivering collections to us.

This will make it easier for clients in Budleigh - if they have no food nor money to buy food they won't have the bus fare either! No doubt it will highlight that support services such as CAB and Open Door do not exist in Budleigh, which is an opportunity for the Budleigh Salterton Church Community in due course.

Some foodbanks set a limit of three visits per client; we do NOT set any limit. Out of 202 families served since we started, 42 have been more than 3 times. Some are clearly having a long struggle - we see them a couple of times and then again after a month or more. Others do need continuous help for an extended period. In these cases we check with the referring agency that the food emergency is valid and also that the underlying crisis is being attended to. These cases convince us that a limit of three visits would deprive people of much needed help in the present world.

Receiving so much help from churches and the broader community we see our role to give people the help and support they both need and deserve as our fellow citizens. However, we do turn people down from time to time (!) because what people want is not always the support they need! Anyone is welcome to visit and see how we work during opening hours .... mid session about 3.15pm would be best to avoid any early rush.

God bless you for all your help !!

Larder report, end of October 2013

A B I G T H A N K - Y O U to all the Harvest Festival supplies which have poured in, keeping us all busy checking dates, sorting and stacking. Demand remains at the high levels of June and July but has steadied from the August and September records.

Exmouth Larder graph

On 26th November there will be a service at 6pm in the Salvation Army Hall to celebrate the first anniversary the Exmouth Community Larder, followed by refreshments and an opportunity to meet our volunteers, our many donors and see how we work.

The big news in October is that we have cash to provide top-up payments for gas and electricity for people in fuel crisis, funded by East Devon District Council. This will be especially important with winter coming on, some saying it will be a cold one.

We can give an amount to allow a client to top up their gas and/or electricity key in line with local authority instructions. For each fuel we will allow a top up of between 5 & 10 and for a maximum of two awards to a household in each twelve month period. Clients will be required to return receipts to the Community Larder once they have topped up their fuel key. As usual we will only respond to referrals from partner agencies.

The Budleigh Salterton distribution centre is now running smoothly, open Thursdays from 9.30 to 11.30am in the Catholic church hall on Clinton Terrace. There are not many clients using it yet, but we had the same pattern in Exmouth at the start.

If you would like to join us come along when we are open. We are truly voluntary with 13 churches represented among our volunteers plus several from no church or faith at all, and no outgoings except food for clients donated by our generous donors.

I am reminded of a spurious Grace before meals, written as a joke but surely black humour in today's world. It makes us think .......
    Lord bless us all and save us, and keep us all alive
    There's ten of us for dinner and not enough for five.
There are too many in the world to whom that applies, some locally !!

Mid November 2013 - The Larder one year old

At 6pm on Tuesday 26th November we hold a Thanksgiving service followed by our first birthday party. In our first year we have given out more than 690 packages of food, supplying about 15,000 meals to clients referred by 30 different agencies, using food and funds food donated by churches and groups throughout Exmouth and surrounds.

Christians Together in Exmouth initiated it with food from the 2012 Harvest Festivals and storage space in the Salvation Army hall. We needed an organisational base, so soon put ourselves under the Salvation Army banner. We help anybody in a food emergency who has no food nor money to buy food and a referral voucher from a local support agency. We do not limit the number of occasions we give provisions to people, but do expect the client to work with the referring agency to overcome their underlying crisis.

The most amazing and gratifying thing about the Exmouth Community Larder is the way in which so very many people from lots of churches, or no church at all, have donated food and funds, with volunteers working harmoniously in support of disadvantaged people among us; how many of our clients have offered help when they will be in a position to do so; the help and encouragement we have had from our friends in referring agencies. ........... Our first birthday party will be a real celebration!

Exmouth Larder graph

After breaking records in August and September, demand has settled, but we don't know what the future holds. The Open Door Centre, Citizens Advice Bureau and EDDC revenue and benefits department have been the most frequent referring agencies, plus NHS and child support agencies, schools, churches, the Glenorchy Work Club and many small specialised groups supporting people in need.

Recent extensions have been the Budleigh Salterton distribution point and funding which enables us to provide basic gas and electric fuel top-ups to those in serious need.

Supporters and volunteers are welcome to our Thanksgiving Service and birthday party. We wish you all a happy Christmas and look forward to continued service to the community in 2014 and beyond.

Larder report, early December 2013

Christmas is upon us; the celebration of God coming among us as Jesus Christ It was a group of rough sleepers, outcasts living in the hills with their sheep, who were chosen for the angel Gabriel to make the greatest announcement ever trumpeted!

As we enjoy Christmas, most of us in our comfortable surroundings, it is well to remember the priorities God showed at The Nativity ...... raggedy shepherds and wealthy wise men, all together with the baby Jesus among the animals at the back of the Inn.
At the end of our first year, the most amazing and gratifying thing about the Exmouth Community Larder is the way in which so very many people from lots of churches, or no church at all, are working together as a harmonious team supporting disadvantaged people among us; how many of our clients have offered help when they will be in a position to do so; the help and encouragement from our friends in referring agencies.

Some of you may have been at the Thanksgiving Service and 1st birthday party we held on Tuesday 26th November. A report and pictures will be on the website. When we started the Larder we thought we knew what we were doing, but only one person really knew. Praise the Lord, there was a detailed plan, which unfolded as we discovered it .... !

During our first year we have given out food corresponding to more than 15,000 meals. We nearly ran out in late summer, but Harvest Festivals replenished reserves. When we start to worry, more food and volunteers just arrive. Thank the Lord and the community for keeping us going and giving such brilliant encouragment.

Exmouth Larder graph

Demand has settled to an average of 90 packages for 160 people each month, half the demand reported by the Exeter foodbank in their big city. Donors have included all the churches and many businesses, 32 groups in total plus many private donations.

Clients have been referred from 30 different agencies over the last year. The Open Door Centre comes top with 32%; CAB with 18%; EDDC (Revenue & benefits, housing), 14%; followed by smaller agencies concerned with rehabilitation in the community, children's agencies, debt counselling (CAP), the Glenorchy Work Club, churches and schools.

So, a happy and holy Christmas to all our supporters, donors, volunteers and agencies, not forgetting for one moment our clients - some of whom will be our donors in the future. Christmas is a Wednesday, so we will be open as usual Mondays and Fridays throughout the holiday, but the Budleigh Salterton centre will not open on Boxing Day.

Year end report, 31st December 2013

The run up to Christmas was amazing. New records set for clients needing help were only exceeded by the enormous generosity of food and cash donations arriving. The Exmouth Journal ran articles in four issues before Christmas; donations are now coming from a wide range of people in the whole community. While started by the Churches, the Larder is now surely a community response - in the manner of previous ages when each neighbourhood would look after its own.

Exmouth Larder graph

The increase in the proportion of larger families coming for help in December was matched by a generosity of Christmas treats from our donors. Our two openings after Christmas have been unusually quiet, so we cannot forecast a trend for 2014.

Our wonderful team of volunteers have enabled us to keep abreast of the pressures. Everything really does work smoothly thanks to the ideas and energy of many people who have enabled our systems to evolve during our first year, but at times we are stretched. This warns us that we may not yet be organised enough. In 2014 we hope to increase our pool of volunteers, which will help.

Agencies referring clients have quite different skills supporting people in trouble. Problems range from housing needs, Learning Disabilities, rehabilitation both medical and social, or simply people unable to make ends meet through inadequate income or the costs of overwhelming debt. Being referred to the Community Larder for help in their food emergency is the one thing our clients have in common. In 2014 we aim to get a better understanding of how the many agencies work, and so improve our ability to signpost clients to the agencies best able to help them overcome the underlying financial crisis which causes the food emergency.

The Budleigh Salterton distribution point is working fluently, but B.S. lacks a centre providing basic support as we have in Exmouth through the CAB and Open Door Centre. Does anyone know any qualified volunteers for a couple of hours a week???

Blessings for 2014 from all the Larder team

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