Tom Arthur, MSP for Renfrewshire South and Cllr Emma Rodden visited Lochwinnoch Community Larder recently to meet with Tori, Mike and the rest of the team there to see the developments at the Lochhead Garden site and hear of their plans for the future.
Lochwinnoch Community Larder is a grassroots organisation run mostly by volunteers and started it’s journey as a food-parcel delivery service during the pandemic in 2020.
The group have evolved into a far-reaching project with many strings to it’s bow and is open to all members of the village community. It is a sub-group of Local Energy Action Plan (LEAP), a registered charity who have been well established in the village for many years and the Lochhead Gardens facility was formally taken over by Lochwinnoch Community Development Trust a few months ago, following a successful Community Asset Transfer application.
The Larder’s main purpose is to provide food, at no cost, to anyone in the Community who has need for it, they aim to reduce food waste and food miles whilst simultaneously creating opportunities for community engagement.
They redistribute good-quality surplus food, which would otherwise be going in landfill, and locally grown fresh produce, in doing so the group also brings people of Lochwinnoch together in a social and inclusive space. Their ethos is underpinned by an ambition to tackle food insecurity in the local area. To that end, the Community Larder encourage everyone to use the service, because even if they can afford to buy new, their engagement masks food poverty for others who can then access food in a dignified way.
Tom Arthur said: “It was an absolute pleasure to catch up with Tori and Mike again and see the fantastic progress that has taken place since I visited last. It is amazing to see an organisation like this, borne out of necessity during difficult times for all, grow and develop into a local asset.
“I am pleased that the Larder and their service users have benefitted from funding sources like Scotland Loves Local, National Lottery Community Fund and Renfrewshire Council.
“For more information about the Larder and other projects, take a look at their website www.myleapproject.org”
Tori Bell, Project Manager at LEAP Together, commented: “We’re really grateful for the support from Tom and Emma, who have backed the Larder project since it started. We currently have over 1200 members from across Renfrewshire and North Ayrshire and the service is going strong.
“We’re excited to see plans come to life now that the local development trust have been granted the community asset transfer for the wider garden we occupy. It’s already a social hub, where people come for food, but also for company.”