Together, we can achieve great things

Could you help us help people in our communities?

What do our partners do?

Our community larders are about so much more than food – and so are our partners. So, for every organisation that helps keep our larders stocked, there are others who help us fit out our community larders, take our leftover food, manage waste and provide health, financial and wellbeing services within our branches. Community Larders really enhance the wonderful work our partners do in their local communities. A place to engage locally and really make a difference “Food is Community, not just Consumption”.

Those relationships are genuine partnerships, with clear benefits to us and the people we support, but also to our partners.

Who are our partners?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do we receive a delivery 52 weeks a year?

No, SOFEA provides food for 48 weeks per year. A Member pays for 48-week membership, spread over 12 months for a reduced cost.

Can we give the food away to non-members?

During a Community Larder, food sent by SOFEA is for Community Larder Members only. However any fresh produce left at the end of a session may be offered to volunteers. Some Larders choose to give left over fresh food to organisations such as food banks. This is permitted, however the partner must keep a log of what they give and the date for traceability purposes.

How do we support families who cannot afford membership?

Community Larders are not recommended for those in Food Crisis, Partners should refer to a food bank in this instance, however for those who are experiencing financial insecurity each partner is given 10 discretionary memberships to appoint at their discretion. There also may be other funding available to support people for a short period of time.

Is there more guidance on a day in the life of a Community Larder?

Our comprehensive onboarding marketing pack contains everything you need to start a community larder. All training and induction are carried out in-house.

How is produce displayed?

SOFEA sends purpose made marketing materials, including display boards to promote your food, all larders are unique, and you may choose to display your food in a certain way. Our helpful planogram will be able to support you as well as reminding you of any compliance requirements.

Can we recruit our own volunteers?

Yes, your Community Larder is yours to run. Most volunteers are recruited by the partnering organisation, Members often become Volunteers.

Do we get training?

Yes, all partners and volunteers have access to induction and training materials, we also provide Level 2 Food hygiene training plus training for our CRM platform.

How do Community Larders receive their food?

All food for Community Larders is “Hard Allocated”, we work with partners to establish the types of food preferred by their members based on demographics, we cannot guarantee certain foods, however we always try to support where we can, particularly with dietary and cultural requests.

Do Larder Leaders and Volunteers get paid by SOFEA?

SOFEA do not renumerate Partners or Volunteers, however each larder can have 5 discretionary Volunteer memberships. Some partnering organisations independently fund expenses for Volunteers.

What are the costs of setting up a Community Larder?

The cost of setting up a Community Larder based on our model is £0, however there may be some associated costs the partner may incur for things like Venue hire, public liability insurance and storage.

Can a partner fundraise for its own larder?

Yes, we actively encourage each larder to raise funds to grow its larder, example of this is to support Wrap around services to enhance the Growth at a community engagement level.

What is the membership process?

  • Members are signed up via our bespoke CRM platform Sheep. Members sign up independently following a link form our website, alternatively there may be times where partners support the sign-up process in person or over the phone.
  • Once a member is signed up, they can access their appointed larder straight away.

Is there a target membership number?

Yes, an optimal number of members per larder is 100, this can be a derivative of families = 2 memberships. (i.e., 50 families = 100 members)

How do we advertise our larder?

  • We have a comprehensive set of marketing materials plus a marketing process all partners must follow, this is in addition with our branding guidelines. You will be asked to create a Community Larder Facebook page. Support is available for this.
  • You will receive agreed flyer templates to use periodically throughout the year, there are elements of these that can be adapted.

Can larders receive chilled food?

Chilled food is part of the future modelling, we are working to pilot chilled membership in 2021.

Can we accept donations from other sources?

Yes, however any additional donations of food and non-food items must not be offered as part of membership, nor displayed with SOFEA food.

How much Fruit and Vegetables do members receive?

Fruit and Vegetables are sent as part of the allocation. There may be some weeks SOFEA have a shortage; each larder will be given the correct amount based on the membership level. We hope to be able to give members at least a choice of 4 items.

How do we look for sources of funding?

  • Local Authorities often have grants available for organisations,
  • Contact local town councils and parish organisations for funding.

Do SOFEA provide the Wrap around Services?

No, we want Partners to have the autonomy to grow and enhance their communities themselves, Larder’s compliment work already being caried out locally. We can however support with our expertise, our monthly partners meetings are a good way to share ideas and offer support.

Can we accept payment by cash?

No, Community Larders are cashless, and based on members paying by direct debit, we can offer support to those who are in financially insecurity.

How Long does it take to set up a Community Larder?

We can open a larder in 1 month.

Do you tell us when we must close?

No, we ask partners to inform us of the 4 weeks of the year they are happy to not accept a food delivery, some larders may choose to open 52 weeks of the year, however food will only be provided for 48 of those.

How you can get involved

We’re always eager to work with more partners who can use or support our services. To explore ways of doing that, please get in touch here.