Cost of Living Grant helping to reduce food poverty in Bedford

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A local charity has expanded a service helping to reduce food poverty in Bedford thanks to a cost of living grant.

IMPAKT Food is a community larder currently operating out of Priory Methodist Church in Bedford, that helps to reduce food waste by taking surplus supplies and redistributing them.

The £19,325 grant, provided by Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board and Bedford Borough Council, has enabled IMPAKT Food to expand their service and establish a thriving community larder, ensuring that vulnerable individuals and families have access to a regular supply of free, nutritious food.

Through their initiative, they have been able to rescue more than 100 tonnes of food that would have otherwise ended up in landfills, providing an additional 115,000 meals to those experiencing food poverty

Their community larder is open to everyone, ensuring that no one is left behind. Whether it’s adults, children, young people, pregnant women, individuals with mental health issues, physical or learning disabilities, chronic health conditions, substance abuse issues, or those experiencing homelessness, IMPAKT Food’s no-questions-asked service offers a lifeline of support.

With the support of the Cost of Living Grant, IMPAKT Food has expanded their service days from one to two per week, allowing them to cater to more than 150 individuals each week. The grant has also facilitated the purchase of a dedicated food van, which collects surplus food stocks five days a week, preventing them from going to waste.

Babz Astle, Community Services Manager, IMPAKT Food, said: “The impact of the community larder cannot be overstated. For many individuals and families, it is the difference between having a meal or going hungry. By providing access to nutritious food, IMPAKT Food enables people to allocate their limited financial resources to other vital needs, such as heating, fuel, utilities, and transportation to work or school. This holistic approach helps individuals maintain stable employment, secure shelter, and cultivate a positive family environment, contributing to their overall well-being.”

Testimonials from local people

Testimonials from people who have used the community larder show how important IMPAKT Food’s services are to their lives.

One grateful individual said: “I don’t know what I would have done without you. You are amazing, and the children really enjoyed the chocolate — it was a real treat.”

Another individual highlights the impact of the service, stating: “Thank you for the food I received today. There was hardly any food left in the cupboard, and the bread and potatoes were just what I needed.”

You can find out more about the community larder on the IMPAKT Food website.

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