Diocese of Portsmouth

    Larder expands to include church building

    2 March 2023

    A PROJECT to offer healthy, affordable food to locals has expanded to include a satellite hub inside this church.

    Bishop Jonathan has opened a new ‘Little Larder’, based at St Philip’s Church, Cosham, which aims to serve those living at the far end of the Highbury estate. It's an offshoot of the Cosham Larder, based in Cosham Park, which offers food to those in need across Cosham, and Wymering.

    The bishop’s visit came as staff and volunteers celebrated the second birthday of the Cosham Larder. It was also a chance to showcase plans to open up St Philip’s more often to those living in the area, with a wellbeing cafe and prayer tent available.

    Just like the Cosham Larder, the Little Larder will be supplied with food that would normally be thrown away by supermarkets, or that is grown locally in gardens and allotments. Local families will be able to subscribe to pick up cheap food regularly. The Larder will be open from 11am to 1pm each Wednesday.

    Volunteers are available in the Wellbeing Cafe inside St Philip’s Church, Cosham
    Bishop Jonathan, the Rev Amy Webb and churchwarden Roger Hutchin with the Cosham Larder van that has been donated
    The prayer tent inside St Philip’s Church allows visitors to spend time in silence or reflection
    Volunteer Suzy McIntosh in the Little Larder in St Philip’s

    Cosham Larder was originallly created in a formerly derelict bowling club in Cosham Park. It was refurbished, stocked with food and launched in 2021 to help families and individuals obtain wholesome food at a reduced cost. Volunteers from the community and local churches staff Cosham Larder and the Little Larder.

    Anyone living in Cosham or Wymering 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 £3.50. The idea is that food waste is tackled, and members of the local community make the best of limited resources, without them feeling judged.

    The vicar, the Rev Amy Webb, said: “The Cosham Larder has been phenomenally successful, and has become a real touchstone for the local community. We regularly see between 70 and 100 people each week at our main Larder in Cosham Park. And so often, if we are worried that we don’t have enough on our shelves to cope with demand, someone seems to turn up with groceries to donate, answering our prayers.

    “We were aware that those living right at the far end of the Highbury estate faced quite a long walk to get to the Cosham Larder. So opening a satellite Little Larder inside St Philip's Church makes sense. Families and individuals can choose whether to visit the main Larder in Cosham Park or the Little Larder in the church.

    “It’s fascinating that we deliberately went out into the community to offer something to local residents, and that a satellite hub of that Larder can now connect people back to our church building. It's about the redevelopment of our spaces in response to a need, but that came out of us going into the community first.

    “We were also amazed to be given a van, which includes a refrigerated section, that we can use to transport the food between the Cosham Larder and the Little Larder. That was donated by Portsmouth Water, and is proving to be really useful.”

    The official opening of the Little Larder at St Philip’s coincides with a drive to keep the church building open for longer during the day. Alongside the Little Larder is a Renew Wellbeing Cafe, located in the church itself, where volunteers can offer hot drinks and chat. Renew Wellbeing Cafes are places that have a specific interest in supporting people struggling with their mental health, so it can be a quiet space where people can do a craft or other activity alongside others.

    There’s also a prayer tent being developed, where people can spend time in quiet or spiritual reflection. There will be prayer resources in it, which will change throughout the Church year.

    For more information about Cosham Larder, click here.

    St Philip's

    Hawthorn Crescent, Cosham, PO6 2TL

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