21 April 2023

The Cornish Food Bank

Our farm it situated near the North Cornish coast. There is no denying that this is a gorgeous part of the world, and while most people are familiar with it from holidays to visit its outstanding natural beauty that is far from all that Cornwall is. Like many areas that rely on tourism and that have a heavily industrial past the county has serious structural economic issues. If you travel a few miles inland from some of the country’s finest beaches you will arrive in the Camborne-Redruth district. With a population of just over 50,000 this is the largest urban area in the county. It’s also one of Northern Europe’s most deprived areas.

The Camborne, Pool and Redruth Foodbank (AKA Transformation CPR) is a striking force for good in this district. Many of you may know the CPR Foodbank from Simon Reeve’s BBC series – “Cornwall with Simon Reeve”. If you did see it then like us you will probably have been wiping away tears hearing Roy – one of the founders – talk about having created the food bank with his wife, Jen. She wasn’t able to do the interview with him having passed away the previous week, indeed Roy would be attending her funeral the very next day. Despite his loss he felt the right thing to do was to make sure he was able to show the rest of the country the situation that the area finds itself in.

The final few months of last year were tough on Petalon. Costs soared and demand dropped as a result of extreme economic uncertainty in the UK and we found ourselves in a tricky spot. While this was stressful for the business, as people who live and work in this county we quickly realised that although times were tough for us they were a lot tougher for many of those around us. As a team we came to the realisation that we could, and should do more about this. We decided to start supporting Transformation CPR through our bouquet sales, suggesting that our customers make a donation to the organisation at checkout. Thus far the project has been a resounding success. In the first 3 months of 2023 we’ve donated over 3000 meals to people in Cornwall who could otherwise not afford them.

Part of the beauty of our partnership with Transformation CPR is its transparency. Whereas a Food Larder service gives food to anyone who wishes to use it the Food Bank requires a referral from a health professional, school or housing service in the area. This means not only can a clear need for the service be shown but also that more than one person knows that the person is in difficult circumstances. Furthermore it means that they arrive at the Food Bank with the organisation already having some background and context on the individual / family, allowing for a more human connection. People are also only allowed a certain number of visits per year, protecting the service from over-use. Another benefit of our relationship is that because we donate in cash rather than food the organisation is able to use their purchasing power to buy in wholesale quantities from wholesale suppliers. This means that they are able to get better prices for the food they do buy, but it also means that they can buy a balanced selection of products rather than the more weighted selection that people tend to donate (a lot of beans, apparently!) Finally, our arrangement with Transformation CPR is under the agreement that the money we donate is ring-fenced to only be spent on food, rather than any administrative costs. That means we can assure anyone who chooses to make a donation at checkout that they are directly paying for food for those who need it.

Our visit to see the team this week left us in awe of the the quality of the service they provide, as well as a heartfelt appreciation for its necessity. We hope you agree and continue to help us support their work.

For more information on Transformation CPR or to support them further just visit their Facebook page or website, as well as continuing to make your generous donations at our checkout.

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