Community initiative based near Wymondham to tackle food poverty

Countrymans' of Norfolk Meals managing director Andy Rix, right, with Jeff Anderson, promotions mana

Countrymans' of Norfolk Meals managing director Andy Rix, right, with Jeff Anderson, promotions manager, and Trudi Griffiths, head of community development and fundraising, on a piece of land at Ashwellthorpe where they hope to be growing food to provide for the vulnerable elderly, and will be educating school children to grow food. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

A fledgling community initiative is hoping to eradicate food poverty by targeting those most in need.

In summer, Trudi-Anne Griffiths and a small team decided to set up a meals on wheels business to offer the elderly a paid-for hot dinner.

But after speaking to charities, councils and local organisations, she decided there were too many people who would not be able to afford the service and began work on a not-for-profit initiative to deliver the meals for free. It may still be in its infancy, but Mrs Griffiths and the team have ambitious hopes for Countrymans' of Norfolk Meals, which will officially launch in January.

She said: 'Initially we hoped to target the elderly, those aged over 65, and families with primary school aged children, but there are more and more people who are in need of this service, like students leaving university who are struggling to make ends meet. We reviewed it and now we will be available to anyone.'

If applicants meet the criteria, they will be cooked a hot meal – at unused kitchens at Wymondham College – which will be delivered to the recipient's door.

At first the service, based just outside Wymondham, will cover south Norfolk and Norwich, but it is hoped it will expand, and possibly adopt charity status, as the initiative takes off.

'It is quite a job to cover different areas,' she said. 'The issues that we face in south Norfolk are completely different to those that are faced in Norwich. If you think of areas such as Mile Cross, Lakenham, the university area - there is a lot of social housing and there are people struggling to feed themselves properly.

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'Even if we can just help once a week, it will make a difference. It's about tackling food poverty and also loneliness, which is a problem particularly in south Norfolk where communities can be quite isolated.'

The team will also invite primary schools and care home residents to a plot of land in Ashwellthorpe, where they can sow seeds. The land will also be used for vegetables and fruit for Countrymans' meals.

Mrs Griffiths said visits would double as a chance to educate people on feeding themselves healthily as well.

The meal service launches on January 4. For details, call 07530 999383.

Are you launching a new community initiative? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk