Hastoe's Community Grant at work

Hear how Hastoe resident champion Julie Neupane is using her Hastoe Community Grant to help provide food for those in need.

Julie Neupane has been a Hastoe resident champion since 2018 and has recently made use of our Community Grant scheme. Here she shares how the funding is helping her community:

 "We applied for Hastoe's Community Grant at the beginning of November and we are so grateful that we've been approved for the full £250 of funding. The funding is for our Henstridge Community Fridge and Larder project where surplus food from local shops is shared for free to bring people together to volunteer and reduce food waste. We use St Nicholas Church as our base because it's centrally located in the village and can be accessed easily by foot and vehicle.

The chilled food items are supplied by two local Co-Op food stores. We trained several volunteers to pick up, sort and stock the items into the fridge-freezer and monitor the food safety aspect of the project. Our original fridge-freezer had suffered some unintended damage so we're very happy that Hastoe approved the funds we need to replace the old one with a refurbished fridge-freezer.

We aim to reduce the environmental impact of wasted surplus foods by enabling it to be shared completely free of charge. Our fridge-freezer is stocked entirely with surplus fruit, vegetables, dairy, bread and baked goods which would otherwise have been thrown away by the shops donating them to us as they has reached their 'Best Before' dates. It's always good to see the food being used creatively to create nutritious meals, instead of being thrown away!

Many people benefit from our Community Fridge and Larder. These include young families with children, elder members of the community and vulnerable adults with disabilities. We aim to be a non-judgemental and equal community project that welcomes all people who may be struggling with bills and costs. To see who was using the community fridge, I collected these statistics on a voluntary form during the first 4 months of the project:

  • 55 households were recorded as using the fridge and larder
  • 281 people (over 10% of our village population) were residing in those households
  • 40% of the 281 people were recorded as children
  • 60% of the households using the fridge and larder were affected by disability

It's lovely to see so many people using the project. If you already have a community project or are starting to plan one, I would urge you to apply for their grant as it really can make a difference. You can apply for up to £250 to help deliver community-based projects that will benefit you and your local community. They particularly welcome applications from projects that will support Hastoe’s commitment to sustainability and the environment, such as helping to protect wildlife, preserve green spaces or encouraging young people to learn more about the environment."

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