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Chippy Larder now giving out 450 food packages a week

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has even been lending a hand as a delivery driver.

A group that delivers affordable food to households in around Chipping Norton has seen a huge increase of demand since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.

The food is provided by SOFEA, which sources it from surpluses from local supermarkets.

Originally The Chippy Larder was to operate on a subscription system but, as the outbreak has seen many lose their jobs, they decided to offer their service to anyone in need, with those using it invited to pay a £2 donation, but only if they can afford.

The demand for the service has risen in a month to 450 requests from vulnerable people on low incomes in and around Chipping Norton.

Those using the services can collect their food parcels once a week from the closed Chipping Norton Leisure Centre while some are delivered to homes.

Commenting on the initiative, Cllr Rizvana Poole said: “I want to thank the team at Chipping Norton leisure centre for supporting me in my vision.  Chipping Norton Leisure Centre, whilst always an integral part of the town has become the hub of our community during this time of uncertainty.”

John Busby, Partnership Manager for Better leisure centres in West Oxfordshire added: “To make good use of the leisure centre, while it is officially closed, made perfect sense.  The Coronavirus has led to real hardship for many and we were keen to do our bit to help.  A number of our staff are now volunteering at the project, while the leisure centre building acts as a distribution hub. 

“We’re careful to following good practice guidelines at all times including social distancing, using PPE when appropriate, along with hand sanitiser."

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