The Community Café Helping Fight Local Deprivation

Welton, Dunholme and Scothern Benefice are there to support one another as a community, and one way in which they do this is through their community café and foodbank.

Welton Larder Community Café, located in St Mary’s Church Welton every Thursday 11am-3pm, started in 2019, however Revd. Paul Ievins had the service in mind for a few years previous. “A friend of mine was working in Market Deeping and said they’d started a foodbank and were feeding 11 families a week” Paul recalls, “and I thought to myself that was a similar sized population and demographic to what we have, so there’s a good chance we might have families struggling as well.”

Through his research, Paul discovered that deprivation in the area was around 8% for children, families and the elderly, and when he compared that with parish statistics, he was astonished at the number of people affected. “The numbers begin to almost put faces on people; armed with those statistics it gave more impetus as to why we should do something, so although we had previously started the food in school holidays programme for our primary schools, in 2019 we opened the larder.”

On the first day of opening there were a handful of visitors, and now the team regularly feed anywhere up to 30 people each week, which is only scratching the surface of those in need.

One of the ways the team have tried to combat the stigma attached to seeking help is by opening up as not just a foodbank, but as a community café and warm space also. Whilst visiting and enjoying anything from a cup of coffee and a piece of cake, to a few sausage rolls or a cheese toastie – all free and donation based – you can also quietly make yourself known the team, and they will be able to help with anything you need from the larder. “We try and break the stigma down by inviting people to visit for a social time, meaning the larder becomes a community space where you can make friends and realise you’re not on your own”

The team also offer deliveries to those in other areas, as they acknowledge the lack of transport in rural areas can often lead to people only having their local shops to purchase food, which are typically a lot more expensive than discount supermarkets.

Around Christmas they produce hampers for those in need, and even offer vouchers for the local butchers to those who otherwise would not be able to enjoy a Christmas dinner.

As the needs of the community grow and change, the team hope the Welton Larder and Community Café can continue to morph and provide various forms of support.  In order to continue their work, they will always need more volunteers, so if you can help please get in touch with Paul at paulievins@btinternet.com or 0794 616 6210. Similarly, if you’d like to donate items, get in touch to be placed onto a mailing list which sends out weekly emails detailing the items they’re short of. These can then be brought directly to St Mary’s Church in Welton, or they can be dropped off at the local Co-op community bins.

Paul also encourages anyone in need of the larder to get in touch. “If you think there are people worse off than you, then we help them as well. Don’t put it off, get in touch – it doesn’t matter who you are, we don’t judge you, and we are here to help you.”