The Horley Food Club was set up in response to the pandemic. With Gatwick Airport at a standstill over the past year, many of its workforce have lost their jobs. And Horley being so close to Gatwick, has a large number of its residents employed either directly or indirectly by the airport. As a result, many are struggling to meet their household bills.
Says Beccy C: “Having lost my job at the airport I have found this so useful as it has helped spread the money I have for the family groceries.”
Although visits to the local foodbank are up, many have been reluctant to use it. The Horley Food Club was set up as an alternative, to offer residents a food club membership scheme whereby they pay a small amount on each visit. Working closely with the foodbank, the organisers have also been able to promote the Food Club as a step away from the foodbank.
One recipient Ron G tells us:
I never expected to be in a position where I was struggling to buy food, The nature of the food club has made me feel more comfortable; it has allowed me to swallow my pride and ask for help for the first time because I am able to say I am also helping to cut down on food waste. That is important to me as a person.
The Food Club supports any Horley residents wanting to reduce their household spending: either because they are on a low income, or benefits (including state pension), or find themselves in temporary financial difficulties.
Also, the Food Club is trying to reach out to older residents who historically need to supplement low incomes but would rather not attend a foodbank.
People often think that I am okay because I give so much time and effort to other things, but really I am struggling on the state pension and it is really hard. This makes a huge difference.A Horley Food Club customer
FareShare supplies the Food Club with a variety of food which enables families to supplement their weekly groceries. Feedback suggests this lets them spend the money they saved on other food or on paying bills.
The variety of the food and the fact that it contains fresh fruit and vegetables makes it particularly appealing to its members.
“By getting fresh vegetables and other groceries from the Food Club I am able to use the spare money to buy meat or fish I would not otherwise have been able to do,” confirms Wendy.
FareShare lets the Food Club know in advance what will be delivered. The organisers tell us this enables them to be able to promote available products on social media platforms and to ask for advice and recipes about the use of certain items. This sharing of recipes has been popular and they intend to start making cookery videos showing how to use some of the more unusual items available.
To find out more visit their Facebook group.
FareShare Sussex are looking to grow our presence in Surrey and are applying for funding for a new warehouse in the county. If you work for a charitable organisation in Surrey we would love to hear your thoughts in our short survey here.