SOFEA’s Banbury Community Larder celebrates grand opening

Categories: News

Last Tuesday saw the grand opening of the latest SOFEA Community Larder at the Methodist church on Marlborough Road in Banbury, Oxford.

In attendance were representatives from various esteemed entities including officials from Cherwell Council, the Mayor of Banbury, the head of Banbury and Bicester College, local faith leaders as well as SOFEA staff and volunteers. The shared goal being to have the Banbury Community Larder function as a local hub to support the people of Banbury during the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Founded in 2018, the Community Larders are designed to provide a social hub for vulnerable people experiencing a multitude of hardships. Unlike a food bank, which provides temporary, means-tested assistance, SOFEA’s Community Larders provide not just food, but ‘wrap-around’ services such as money management and mental health support. For a one-off £10 joining fee and a £3.50 weekly subscription, Community Larder members can choose up to 14 items of food that enables them to save up to £400 annually, all without the need for means testing. The result is that those facing multiple vulnerabilities can have a space to come together, make new friends and build confidence all by harnessing the convening power of food.

Speaking following the Banbury Community Larder’s opening, Alex Wells, SOFEA’s Oxfordshire Community Larder Manager, said,

“It was a joy to see the Banbury SOFEA Community Larder open yesterday! It’s been a long time coming, and Taraji and the team have worked tirelessly to finally introduce the Community Larder to the area. We are all excited to watch it grow and benefit the residents of Banbury.”

Once the larder beneficiaries had gathered their desired food items, a local imam and priest led the attendees in a multi-faith prayer, including a reading of the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic, to bless the Banbury Community Larder, the staff, volunteers and beneficiaries, as well as the hard work that went into establishing it.

For more information on Community Larders and how to join your local one, click here.

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