Horncastle's Community Food Larder 'preparing for the worst' as energy bills soar

Horncastle's food bank volunteers have said that they are preparing for the worst as energy bills are set to soar this autumn.

Volunteer Nancy Benilde at Horncastle’s Community Larder.
Volunteer Nancy Benilde at Horncastle’s Community Larder.

It was announced on Friday that Ofgem has announced the energy price cap is increasing to £3,549 per year, an 80 percent increase in energy costs, from October 1, and volunteers at Horncastle's Community Food Larder are trying to work out if they can manage if their number of clients seeking food parcels double, or even triple.

Spokesman Isabel Forrester said that while the summer months are usually quieter as people tend to have fewer overheads, this summer they have remained as busy as ever – and they are now expecting things to continue to rise from here.

She said: “We’re planning for Armageddon and we’re currently working out if we can sustain it. We’re trying to work out where our breaking point is, and we think there will be a breaking point.

"This is no normal recession, it’s above and beyond anything we’ve ever seen and it’s almost too big to imagine.”

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The community larder is already starting to put plans in place to prepare for their Christmas clients to make sure everyone is provided for at Christmas.

"We’ve been lucky that the big supermarkets are already putting in Christmas orders and are putting aside selection boxes for us, and we’re talking to our partners to see what support we can get to make sure no-one goes without at Christmas,” Isabel said.

Members of of the East Lindsey Food Bank Collective, Isabel said that there would come a point where other charitable organisations will really struggle as relying on volunteers and donations will soon become too much

"We don’t want to have to cap our numbers, but it depends on where we are financially. We’re lucky as our running costs and overheads are really low thanks to the kindness of the community centre, but others are really struggling,” she said.

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"You can only ask volunteers to do so much and charities to do do much before they buckle under the pressure, the people who would provide donations and help are feeling the pinch too.”

The Community Larder is always in need of donations of food to fill their food boxes, which provide three days of food.

The larder is in particular need of tinned vegetables, tinned meats and fish, tinned soups, dried goods such gravy granules, stock cubes and stuffing, longlife desserts including custard sachets, jelly, rice pudding, tinned fruits and Angel Delight, spreads such as Bovril, jam, honey and Marmite, hot drinks powers and toiletries such as deodorant, sanitary products, razors and shaving soap, soap, tooth paste and toothbrushes, and dog food.

These can be dropped at the larder’s donations points at the Co-op on Conging Street, Lincolnshire Co-op on High Street, The Original Factory Shop on Boston Road, St Mary's Church in Horncastle, St Margaret's Church in Hemingby and Tesco's Horncastle.

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​Strong bags for packing the food in are also always needed.

To find out more about the larder, or to request a food parcel, visit https://www.horncastlecommunitylarder.co.uk/