Aims and objectives

The Exmouth Community Larder was set up in November 2012 to help individuals and families in crisis by providing free emergency food for a minimum of three days to people experiencing crisis in the Exmouth area.

Other care agencies exist to help in the long term; our mission is to provide emergency food aid to all that may need it while they are trying to resolve whatever may be their underlying crisis.

This is an initiative of Christians Together in Exmouth, originally led by Brixington Community Church, Holy Trinity, The Salvation Army, Holy Ghost Church and Exmouth Chapel. The Exmouth Larder is based in the Salvation Army hall, in Sheppards Row, just off the Exeter Road beside the Exmouth Chapel and opposite Glenorchy Church.

Launch briefing

Mayor at the Larder launch

The basic strategy and policies of the
Exmouth Community Larder as set out at the
23rd November 2012 launch meeting were summarised as follows:-
........ ( April 2013 amendments and updates are shown in italics )
On Friday 23rd November 2012 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, referral agencies signed up as well as more volunteers, and later in the afternoon our first client arrived with a voucher.

An information meeting had been held on Wednesday 14th November. There was a good turnout from Exmouth church people, 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.

This was an opportunity for the 16 volunteers who turned up to discuss the basic organisation. We established a team of welcomers to 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.

By April 2013, the organisation has evolved; ideas and contributions have come from the whole team resulting in a smooth flowing operation.
Opening times changed from November 2014

Why an Exmouth Community Larder?

The needy have always been with us and this is unlikely to change. There is increasing uncertainty in employment and changes to the benefit system set for April 2013 will cause a lot more people to fall into extreme poverty, many of them due to inability to follow changed procedures correctly to obtain benefit.

Also, long term worldwide economic trends will continue to create social change. Less developed countries from whom we obtain low cost goods will improve their standard of living, which is good, but that will push up prices in the affluent world. So we are unlikely to return to continued affluence and there will always be individuals and families who lose out.

How are we set up

CTE logoThe original scheme was an initiative of Christians Together in Exmouth, with five churches working in partnership : Brixington Community Church, Exmouth Chapel, Holy Ghost RC church, the parish of Littleham and Holy Trinity, and the Salvation Army. The plan was to form an independent Charitable Organisation as soon as possible. However, legal processes and agreements would have taken many months

But the need was immediate. We had a room made available by The Salvation Army and food generously donated from many 2012 Harvest Festivals and other church collections. So we went forward under the auspices of The Salvation Army with an Advisory Group from other churches. We have volunteers from a dozen different churches so it is genuinely a Christians Together in Exmouth initiative.
CTE logo

How is food to be distributed?

By "Food Emergency" we mean that an individual or family has no food on hand, nor money to buy food. Food will be issued to people in response to a voucher issued from a relevant support agency. These may be schools, social services, charities or churches that have awareness of people in need. We originally opened 2.15 - 4.15 pm Mondays and Fridays, or on Tuesdays when Monday is an official Bank Holiday. If people in need arrive without a voucher, we will give them food and signpost them to a support agency as appropriate. We realise that a short term Food Emergency is generally the result of a deeper underlying crisis, so a support agency needs to address that crisis while we in the Exmouth Larder support the immediate food emergency.

How does an agency know if a person is in "Food Emergency"?
The two key questions are :

Does the person have food to eat?
Do they have money to buy food?

If the answer is "no" to both the agency should issue a voucher to collect food from the Exmouth Larder.

There are sure to be occasions when people obtain food when they are not really in emergency, but we would rather feed 9 people who cheat the system than miss one who is genuine. However, we will only give food a second time in response to a voucher from the signposted agency - in other words we will respond to the food emergency provided the client is also taking steps to solve the underlying crisis, however slow or quick that solution may be.
example voucher

Where does food come from?

We have non-perishable food donated by members of the public and churches. Non-perishable means tins, or packets of long term stored food such as pasta or rice. We cannot give out food that is beyond the sell-by or best-by date stamped upon it, so please do not donate out of date items.

By May 2013 regular donors included 16 churches, 5 non church groups and a dozen anonymous individuals.
Click here for the current donor list

The items we most need varies; click here or go to "Giving" to see a list highlighting items we need badly, those we usually need and items for which we are overstocked.

Once received, food is checked and rotated to ensure that it is within its date and sorted into cetegories on our shelves ready to make up donor parcels.

Storeroom, Nov 2012

The original larder store, November 2012
  One corner of the new larder store and shelving
February 2013 as stocks were being added

Storeroom, Feb 2013

How to obtain food vouchers

Food Vouchers are available on request to our email address (see below) from recognised agencies. These ask for the clients name, address and postcode, the number of adults and children in the household and the agency referring them to us. An "eVoucher" is available in MS Word format which can be copied, completed in MS Word and sent in to us by email - the agency email address it is sent from acts as authentication.

Our volunteers

Our "Welcome team" are the visible face of the Exmouth Larder to anyone arrivng for help. They will chat to the client, ask some more formal questions if the client does not have a voucher, offer a cup of tea or coffee while the request is processed by the sorting team.

(April 2013 update)
The welcome team now check and date food arriving during quiet periods, greatly speeding the sorting process.
Also, the delivery team has become part of the welcome team, arriving later in the shift to load and deliver parcels for clients seen earlier

The "Sorting team" work in the back room, checking and sorting newly arrived food donations and making up packages of food. We categorise the packages "individuals", "couples", "small families", "large families" and also for those sleeping rough who will not have the usual kitchen facilities.

The "Delivery and collection team" are available to take the food packages, which can be heavy and bulky, and deliver them to clients, and now (April 2013) part of our "welcome team". The generous donations that we regularly receive are also being kindly brought to our centre on Monday and Friday afternoons, so "collecting" has not been required .... but we could if requested!!
  example voucher

    .... waiting to be sorted, November 2012 !

By April 2013 the system had been dramatically streamlined . . . . .!

Policies towards clients, volunteers and the community

We apply strict guidlines dealing with people. There is no bias on ethnic origin, religion or any other distinguishing feature. We also have a strict policy for protection of vulnerable people and make the assumption that anyone seeking emergency food is temporarily vulnerable, however capable they may normally be. This means that in all client dealings, including deliveries, no-one acts alone and one of those present should hold a CRB check. We will make no attempt to convert or influence clients' ideas, religion or beliefs.

How can you help ?

Referral agencies should email us to obtain a supply of vouchers.

Donors should arrange for the food we need to be brought to our centre, or arrange for us to collect.

Donations of cash are welcome
Click here to go to the donations page, including a Gift Aid form

We will need more volunteers as our client contacts grow

Watch for updates !!

The first reports, (now more nostalgic than relevant) have been moved to the 2013 news summary page - for which click here!

Thank you for your support

The Exmouth Larder now (2017) opens from 1.30-3pm on Fridays,
from 2.00-3.30pm on Mondays whether or not a Bank Holiday

Click here for more news

Click here for the information leaflet.

Support agencies please click here for more information,
or here to download a printable leaflet and application form

Click here to learn more about volunteering

Exmouth Larder email