The doors to a new north-east community larder are being flung open today to offer a “top-up” style food shopping option for those finding money a little tight.
A 20-strong group of volunteers from Fraserburgh’s resilience group have spent the last six months securing premises, funding, donations and the goods needed to create the town’s first fully-stocked community larder.
They hope it will offer a helping hand to Brochers who are caught in the “middle ground” between foodbank reliance and being able to comfortably buy their weekly food shop.
Group coordinator John Anderson said the new store in the town’s Harbour Road is aimed at those “needing to supplement their weekly shop”.
The 69-year-old said: “We already have two foodbanks in the town, one run by the Salvation Army and another by the Trussell Trust, so we wanted to do something different.
“We found premises with the help of local business Jack Fish, which has given us its disused office and canteen block free of charge – and got us set up with electricity too.
“It’s been empty for a long time so we had to do it all up and have been working on the building since September.
“We looked at a number of other disused spaces in the town but unfortunately none were forthcoming, so we’re extremely grateful to Martin Jack for finding us these premises.”
‘It’s not a foodbank’
The results of all those labours are being unveiled today as the group welcomes their first shoppers to the Harbour Road larder.
Mr Anderson added.
“It’s not for a weekly shop,” Mr Anderson.
“If someone is unemployed or on furlough or just can’t afford a full shop for some reason they can come to the larder and get a top-up.”
Those who join the larder will be asked to pay £2 membership for the year and £1 per week for their visit thereafter.
For that £1 each week, visitors can pick up any five items from the larder, with two of them being higher-value meat or fish and three being lower-value tinned or packet goods.
There’ll also be a ‘free’ area offering up fruit and veg when available, as well as a two-item limited stock of toiletries and treats.
The team have struck up a deal with a local butcher for cost-price meat, and relied on donations and a £2,500 grant from Aberdeenshire Council to fully stock the larder.
“We went around the schools last week and within a day we were getting calls from people keen to get a membership, so there’s definitely a need for this,” the retired firefighter added.
“I think it will be used a lot.”
During last summer’s coronavirus lockdown, as part of the Fraserburgh Community Heart initiative, a 42-strong group of volunteers handed out more than 450 care packages to those shielding over the course of five months.
“This is different, and it will be a learning curve for us,” added Mr Anderson, who was awarded a British Empire Medal for his efforts in leading the group last summer.
The larder will be open each Tuesday between 10am and 12pm and each Thursday from 2pm to 4pm, with those hours increasing if there’s a demand for it.
More information can be found on the Fraserburgh Resilience Group- Food Larder Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.