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Church-backed Caister larder’s year of change

Caister Community Larder, which became a registered charity just over a year ago, has seen 12 months of development as it has moved from running a purely referral-based foodbank to opening a larder which is open to all who need it.

The original foodbank opened in the summer of 2022 in the coastal village of Caister-on-Sea, just north of Great Yarmouth. It was an initiative of Caister Cares, which is a partnership between Holy Trinity Church, the local schools and the parish council. However there was a desire to set up something which would be a resource for the wider community, including those who would never consider going to a foodbank for help. As a result, in April 2023, the larder opened, having been set up with the support of Fareshare and Nourishing Norfolk. The larder differs from a foodbank in that it is open to anyone who needs it from the local area, and for £3 they can choose 15 items of food. It’s open twice a week on a Monday afternoon and Friday morning.

Revd David Wells is vicar of Holy Trinity Church and was instrumental in setting up Caister Cares and the Caister Community Larder. He observes that: “we know there is a need for this, as recent research shows that a large percentage of the population are concerned about being able to afford food. Many of them would never consider going to a foodbank.” He went on to add that “people came into the foodbank with their heads down. We don’t see that here at the larder.” This willingness to access the larder is confirmed by the figures. Caister Community Larder gets around 30 customers a week, with around 70 – 80 different individuals having come through their doors since April. Those needing to use the foodbank have decreased to almost zero.

The appeal of the larder is not only the sense of dignity and independence it offers, but also the community. Customers come in and make themselves a cuppa before sitting down to chat with others as they wait to get their shopping. Sue, who is a volunteer, observes that the people who come in “come for a drink and company as well as the food. They know our names now and we know theirs.”

Caister Community Larder is a true partnership, with volunteers coming from the church and the wider community. The publicity has been designed by a member of staff from one of the schools and the building being managed by Caister Playing Field. Revd David reflects that “it isn’t the church doing this. It’s like Rowan Williams said: ‘mission is finding out what God is doing and joining in.’”

The Caister Community Larder is just part of the growth of community activities and support which is happening in Caister. A Men’s Shed opened earlier this year, and the Community Spoon building and playing field (where the larder is located) are also home to many other groups including a remote controlled car group, a walking football club. A youth club is also in the pipeline.


You can find out more about Caister Community Larder and the items they need donated on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CCLarder

Photo of Revd David Wells and Caister Community Larder volunteer Sue.


Anna Heydon, 04/08/2023

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