There were 602 visits to The Larder in the six months to the end of May, providing food for 1,330 people including family members, a 25% increase on previous years. The start of the Universal Credit scheme is part of the cause; we now have many referrals where the client has to wait a month before receiving any money. Payment delays leave people who do not have savings destitute before money arrives.
As always, the Larder insists on clients getting help with their underlying crisis. Maybe we also need to get help for officials to understand the real world!! Politicians and officials may succeed by being organised, but many other people are disorganised. It is these we see in the Community Larder – people whose budgeting is counting how much cash they have in hand. Adjusting to monthly payments is a big change. Spending on mental health is now a record, as Sir Hugo Swire reports in the Exmouth Journal – but I am sure he would agree that past spending was too low. We reckon many of our clients would benefit from mental health support, though we do not keep records of that.
Education is another issue – schools are measured by high achievers; but the really good teacher is one who improves the very limited ability and low self esteem of difficult pupils. Many people leave without cooking or budgeting skills; they come to the larder, unsure of themselves, isolated and hungry, and asking how to cook rice!! So THANK YOU ALL for helping the Exmouth Community Larder to continue the mission of providing basics to those who are more in need than most of us!!