The Dereham Food Cabin is the latest member of the Nourishing Norfolk Network – Norfolk Community Foundation’s mission to make sure no one in Norfolk goes hungry. Here, Toby Rouse, Operations Manager of the Wellspring Family Centre Project, explains how it hopes to help people on a low income
We’re Food Cabin, part of the Nourishing Norfolk Network. We’re an affordable food service that provides discounted food items and toiletries for people in Dereham on a membership basis.
When did the new Food Cabin in Dereham open and what part has the Wellspring Family Centre played in it all?
The official launch was Friday, January 20, 2023. Food Cabin is a project run by the Wellspring Family Centre charity.
How great is the need for this latest food hub in the Dereham area?
We believe there is great need. From my research, around 17% of people in Dereham live in poverty, and the cost-of-living crisis has affected everyone. Inflation in the UK hit 10% last year, so the cost of everyday essentials has rapidly increased, putting a strain on everyone’s finances.
What does the Food Cabin sell and what are the price points?
We sell everyday food items and toiletries (plus give some stuff away too!). Items include milk, bread, vegetables, cereals, meat and tinned food. We even have a Free-From section! members will save around 30% compared to supermarket prices.
Do you offer any other services to support people?
Yes, we love to connect with other organisations and as we get to know our members, we want to be able to signpost them to other services such as budgeting, mental health support, parenting support, and anything else that might benefit them.
How does the Food Cabin fit with the aims of the Nourishing Norfolk Network?
‘The Nourishing Norfolk Network brings together groups of all sizes who work at grassroots level to ensure communities have access to affordable, healthy food. Established last year, the network provides mutual support, advice and information to help combat food insecurity and make sure no one in Norfolk goes hungry.’
We’re the newest member of the Network, and Food Cabin has three primary aims, all of which are in line with the Network’s goal:
1. Meeting basic need – we want to make sure no one in Dereham goes hungry. The great work of Food Bank continues to help people in emergency situations, but we want to help those who are “just about managing” as well as others that have been hit hard by the cost-of-living crisis. We want to do this by providing discounted groceries on a long term basis so that we can spare them from needing emergency support.
2. Reducing food waste
Some of our suppliers give us food which otherwise would go to waste. This is all completely edible and safe, but not able to be used by the supplier. We give these away from our Cabin, so not only do our members get discounted groceries, but often free food too!
3. Promoting local businesses
We understand the cost-of-living crisis affects everyone – business included. We therefore aim to work in a mutually beneficial capacity with our partners and promote their services where we can. This is a real community project and shows what can happen when the community partners together.
What are your hopes for the Food Cabin?
We have lots of hopes for the Food Cabin. Firstly, we want to see all our members cared for so that budgets can be used for essential living costs such as energy. We want the project to reach at least 100 Dereham households. We want to be a hub of community connection, we want to improve self-worth for both our members and our volunteers, we want to reduce food waste, and we want to see improvements in the lives of people we are in contact with.
The following is a quote form one of our most recent shoppers, I thought I’d include it as a snippet of why we’re doing this:
‘Just a quick email to say thank you so much for your kindness. It felt like I had done a proper shop for the first time in ages and I’m really grateful to you both and all your supporters. I had a lovely chat with your husband as well, Jayne, while he helped me with the bags. It is amazing what you are doing and I’m so grateful. Thank you’
Visit the Food Cabin – Wellspring Family Centre (wfcdereham.org); email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and let them know if you want to become a member. You would then just need to pop into the Centre (35 Neathered Road, Dereham, Norfolk, NR19 2AE) at an arranged time with proof of address and they will get you all registered to be able to use the shop.
Featured image: Toby Rouse, Operations Manager for the Wellspring Family Centre and Jayne Olley, Cabin Co-ordinator