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Basic healthy food on offer via Cosham Larder project
A YEAR ago, it was an empty shell of a building. Now it’s a thriving hub for the local community – helping to feed between 70 and 100 people a week.
Cosham Larder was created in a formerly derelict bowling club in Cosham Park. It was refurbished, stocked with food and launched earlier this year to help families and individuals obtain wholesome food at a reduced cost.
Volunteers from the community and local churches stock Cosham Larder each week with food that would normally be thrown away by supermarkets – or that have been grown in local gardens and allotments.
Anyone living in Cosham, Wymering or Paulsgrove can pay an annual fee of just £1 to become members. They are then able to choose 10 items from the larder, once a week, for just £3.
The Rev Amy Webb, vicar of Cosham and Wymering, is the project leader. She said: “During the pandemic, many of us have understood more about mental health problems, food insecurity and the lack of access to healthy meals for many people.
“Foodbanks do an amazing job of giving food away to those who have nothing to eat. We’re doing something slightly different, by making it easier for families to buy basic, wholesome food at reduced prices.
“It also, of course, saves on food waste in local supermarkets – much of what they give us would have been thrown away because they have over-stocked or it is almost at its sell-by date.
“There is no stigma or judgement on people who use the Larder – this just helps them to make the most of their finances.
“Over the past few months, we’ve seen a huge number of people use it, whatever their financial situation, and it has very quickly become a vital part of the local community.
“For our volunteers, it’s also a great way of contributing something to the local community, sharing God’s love in a very practical way.”
Local residents have also welcomed the creation of Cosham Larder. Alexandra Albu said: "For me it is more than the price, it is about the huge amount of food being wasted every day due to strange policies, when there are so many children starving in the world. Amazing project made by amazing people. Thank you."
Sharon Hill said: "It's certainly been helpful to me, each time I visit it is the lovely friendly welcome you are given, the whole place has such a lovely feel to it, and everyone involved are so lovely."
And Charlotte Hodgson said: "This has been a great addition to the local community. I always get a friendly welcome from the staff and other friendly locals I have met. It's been a great help and there is always a great range of products available."
The Larder is open from 10am-2pm, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It’s also looking for a new manager. You can find more information about the project and about that job on www.coshamandwymering.org/larder.
Hawthorn Crescent, Cosham, PO6 2TL