Shropshire charity launches appeal for new cost-of-living crisis initiative

As the cost of living crisis begins to bite a Shropshire charity has launched a major effort to help.

Susie O'Hagan and Di Garrini of Hands Together Ludlow
Susie O'Hagan and Di Garrini of Hands Together Ludlow

Hands Together Ludlow has appealed for volunteers and for funding to launch a Food Hub and a Community Fridge in the town.

In the last few weeks the charity has picked up the keys for its new premises at 15 Lower Galdeford and they are looking to move in within the next month or so.

Hands Together Ludlow is a community-based charity working with partners, stakeholders and volunteers to create a more equitable community in and around Ludlow by reducing isolation, poor health and wellbeing and financial hardship.

The idea of the food hub is to rescue good quality, surplus food, free of charge from local retailers, producers, growers, restaurants and households.

Food donated to the project will be made available to everyone through the community fridge, as the idea is to save food from ending up in landfill. It is a different idea from a food bank, where people in need can go for comprehensive free help.

Susie O’Hagan, HTL's operations manager said: "We’re hoping local businesses will get involved and sponsor the Hub but to be successful we need the community to come forward to help too.

"We’d love to hear from anyone who’d like to get involved. Hands Together Ludlow is an exciting place to be, it’s a great time to join us.’

Food coordinator Di Garrini said that alongside their community lunches, afternoon teas and Company at Christmas, Hands Together Ludlow has big plans for the Food Hub.

Dependent on how much surplus is donated, and how many volunteers come forward, this includes cooking meals for re-distribution, producing meal boxes and recipe cards, expanding meals for disadvantaged kids, classes on using left-overs and much more.

Susie added that the charity works closely with the Ludlow Food Bank and is developing ways that its kitchen can help out.

She said: "Sometimes people have the meals but can't afford the electricity to cook it. A jacket potato cooked in an oven can use a lot of electricity, so if we can provide meals which are quick and easy to cook, and use less power maybe in a microwave we will."

The charity has launched a Just Giving fundraising page.

A spokesman said: "With more and more people feeling the impact of the cost of living increases, the Food Hub and community fridge will enable us to distribute more surplus without stigma or question.

"We plan to expand to cooking surplus food to stock the fridge with fresh, nutritious meals and expand our donation base to local businesses, farmers, shops and food producers.

"We will also be able to increase the number of weekly supermarket collections and use and share the freshly grown vegetables from allotments we are offered each year."

The plan is for the fridge and Food Hub to become the focus of the charity's new community building.

"We plan to find new and innovative ways to grow - in time we may be able to provide practical help for young people to learn new skills, enter the hospitality industry and so support the businesses in town," the spokesman adds.

"In fact, the fridge and Food Hub will be the springboard into many other opportunities and projects, bringing together local food and hospitality businesses and residents in a mutually supportive and proactive way. Together we can identify what we need and how to meet it in the years to come."

HTL also provides support and information to the wider community. Projects include Men’s Shed, Community Lunch, Good Start parent group, Befriending, Community Helpline, emergency prescription delivery, food surplus projects and volunteering opportunities.

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