Food provision in East Devon

Supporting people with food

In September 2018 we started delivering food to tenant families in Axminster who had been identified as needing support by council officers and other professionals. Waste food is collected from supermarkets on Tuesday evening and delivered to homes on Wednesday afternoons. We currently deliver to 13 tenant houses in Axminster.

We quickly realised the need was greater than we had time to fulfil with referrals coming from across the district and for families who weren’t tenants. So in September 2019 meetings happened with FareShare to discuss a project bringing waste food into East Devon to be distributed to food providers across the district to supplement the food they are saving from supermarkets each week. Then a pandemic happened!

From March-September 2020 we collecting food from Exeter Food Action (another food provider charity based on Marsh Barton) to supplement what we were getting from the supermarkets, which was very little. Some non perishable food but also organic veg which wasn’t being sold on farmers markets due to lockdown.

From October 2020 to April 2021 DEFRA funded food deliveries start being collected from FareShare in Bristol and bought to the hub in St Paul’s with money from the Coronavirus grant funding.
A pallet of food was unloaded and collected by food providers from Axminster, Ottery and Honiton.
In a way this was a trial run of the buy in scheme we had discussed in September, so we knew how it would work when the time came.

Finally in August 2021 East Devon Food Partnership deliveries started.
Over 500 kilos of waste food bought from FareShare in Bristol each week, to Exeter Food Action and then to St Pauls flat in Honiton where local food providers collect their share and distribute it to their networks.
Food providers from Axminster, Broadclyst, Exmouth, Honiton, Ottery and Sidmouth took food so nearly all our major towns were involved

We are the second district in the south west (Devon and Cornwall) to have this scheme.
It couldn’t have come at a more important time as the Coronavirus funding comes to an end and waste food from the supermarkets has dwindled due to delivery problems caused by driver shortages and agreements with government to reduce waste; yet people are still feeling the financial effects of lockdowns and furlough and fuel prices are rising so the need is rising.

This fits with the council’s Poverty Reduction Strategy by maximising people’s incomes, strengthening families and communities, promoting an inclusive economy and improving health.

Food providers involved are -

  • Broadclyst foodbank
  • Honiton Food Save
  • Littleham Community Fridge
  • Ottery Larder
  • Sid Valley Foodbank

If you would like to know more about this project or other food providers in East Devon please contact the Community Development team.