Landport Larder, which supports Charles Dickens ward by providing food for reduced costs, celebrates its one year anniversary

THE Landport Larder has celebrated its one-year anniversary as demand spikes due to the cost of living crisis.

By sophie lewis
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 4:55 am

The larder was set up due to the devastating impact that the pandemic had on the residents in and around the Charles Dickens Ward area, which is one of the most deprived areas of the city. It is now in high demand due to the increase in living costs.

The pop-up shop has over 400 people on the books and has seen a clear increase in the number of people attending weekly, with some even queuing an hour before before the doors open.

The larder receives financial support from housing association Abri.

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The volunteers at Landport larder receiving the Freedom of the City award from The Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Tom Coles

Alan Jenkins, 57, the manager of Landport Community Centre, said: ‘I think the key here is that what we don’t do is we don’t operate as some other food banks. There are reasons for this because as a charity we could afford to buy food and give it away for free.’

The larder charges a fee of £3.50 to members, and this fee will secure people with 10 items and free items which are usually fruit and vegetables.

Pauline Stewart, 56, is a volunteer at the larder, having started out as a customer, and said she has experienced financial difficulty. She was made redundant from her job, and then became her son’s full time support worker but said that it was extremely difficult.

Pauline said: ‘Obviously money was quite tight doing that and that is when I heard about here and really it has been a lifesaver and from that I became a volunteer because I love people,

Left to right: Elaine Colbourne, 56, with friend Sharon Crouch, 56.

‘For some people, this is probably all they have to got to exist on, which is a sad state of affairs.’

The larder is welcoming new people every week and for Elaine Colbourne, 56, it provided her with a sense of relief during such a troubling financial situation.

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Elaine said: ‘I have got a disabled husband at home and I would say four years ago, we would have a spare bit of cash for clothes. Now I am in debt, I can’t make ends meet and it is a worry,

The shelves stripped bare after only an hour of the larder being open.

‘I am worried about the winter, it was hard last year.’

Landport Community Centre was presented the Freedom of the City award by The Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Tom Coles for its work during the pandemic when it delivered 8,500 meals for isolated vulnerable people, as well as their work with the Landport Larder.

Cllr Tom Coles said: ‘It is important that they are recognising this great service that kept us going through the pandemic.’

Some of the people that are going to the larder are struggling so much that they are having to choose between heating their homes and eating, which highlights the need for food banks and larders.

Kieran Jones, 33, community development officer for Abri housing, said that ‘food banks are over taking McDonalds.’

Abri has agreed to continue supporting the larder for the rest of the year due to a significantly increased demand.