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Food brings people together and is central to a lot of community activity.

Helen Burton, Eastbourne Borough Councillor

Set up in November 2020, Langney Larder is run by Helen and a team of committed volunteers from Langney Community Centre in Eastbourne.

“We are based in one of the three most deprived areas of Eastbourne and we wanted to use the centre to put the heart back in the community, provide a community cafe and have group meet ups when it was allowed. Running Langney Larder is a part of that vision.”

The larder was set up after seeing the growing numbers of struggling families. After serving packed lunches during school holidays the team realised there was a huge issue with food poverty in the area.

Langney Larder has over 70 members and supports people from various backgrounds.

“Some people sign up to prevent food waste but most sign up to feed their families. Most come in every two weeks to get higher cost items that would push them over their budget e.g. feminine hygiene products, toiletries, meat. By providing these items we can help make their budgets stretch a bit further and they can eat better.”

FareShare is the main source of food to Langney Larder and Helen explains how important their delivery is.

“We couldn’t operate without FareShare. We know people in our community whose cupboards are bare so it’s essential that they are able to use Langney Larder. We created this project in a crisis to cope with a crisis and are now looking at setting up community larders in other places in Eastbourne.”

When restrictions ease, Helen has plans to focus more on their food waste project and operate kitchens to make meals as well, which FareShare are keen to support.

We asked Helen to tell us how she finds the food from FareShare.

“It’s like Christmas – you never know what’s going to be on a delivery. It’s quite exciting seeing items come in that we’ve never used before too. For example I’ve learnt how to cook with celeriac as it’s important for me to explain to other people how to use the food. I’ve been experimenting at home so that I can share ideas with beneficiaries.”

We’ve had some heartbreaking stories since opening. People that are deeply ashamed of the situation they’re in. Because our emphasis is focused on food waste they feel less ashamed. Food banks have seen less people attending as benefits have gone up but we’ve seen more people who are new to poverty. As we’re hearing their stories and getting to know them we’re signposting them to other services and encouraging them to use food banks. These people have never been in this situation before and need help.”

Please do consider supporting FareShare. It really is helping to support people who are at rock bottom, especially during this crisis. FareShare is at the core of this. It’s shameful that food poverty exists, but FareShare is helping alleviate this.

Photo credit: Eastbourne Herald and Gazette