Stories

Children and Families in Grief
Drying the tears

Children and Families in Grief (FIG) provide practical, emotional and creative support for children and their families following bereavement. Over the last two years they have seen an almost five-fold increase in families desperately needing their support and James’ story is just one of them. Three days after his birthday and just two days before Christmas his Father tragically committed suicide, James stopped talking to his family and friends and was left feeling confused and alone: It left me feeling sad, like I was the only one in the word that had lost a Dad. FIG made me feel a lot better, talking to someone made me realise I am not the only one.

The group offer a range of support including meetings with highly skilled therapists and participation in therapeutic weekends, sharing experiences with other families completely free of charge. The project helps to break down the barriers surrounding bereavement and support children and their families to talk about their loss. This has long lasting ramifications and has the power to completely transform negative emotions into positive memories for the families in the future.

Health and Local Food for Families
A winning recipe

In 2013 one of the largest employers in Devon, Axminster Carpets, was forced to make around half of their workforce redundant. Individuals and families were suddenly in unexpected and difficult circumstances. A survey showed that a reduced income leads to people eating less fruit and vegetables while relying on more junk food. Axminster Foodbank saw a huge increase in demand for food as people began to discover that they didn’t have enough to eat. So to help local people stretch their income, they needed to learn about budgeting, planning their food and cooking a healthy low cost meal.

One local man, who had worked for the business for his entire life along with his parents, found his family with no income overnight and no way of knowing when the next pay cheque would be on its way. He got in touch with Health & Local Food for families. HALFF responded rapidly in Axminster by running ‘Cooking on a budget’ courses offered to former Axminster Carpets employees. The courses were designed to be practical and to build people’s confidence in cooking, showing that you can eat healthily on a low budget. The charity also encouraged former employees to volunteer at its Food Information Centre, shop and vegetable garden to help maintain and develop their work skills until they were able to find new jobs.

Food in the Community 
Waste not want not

Despite Devon's seeming affluence there are areas of deprivation equal to the worst founds anywhere in the country. Home Office figures show that over 200 children in and around Totnes live in poverty. Everyday, obscene amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables are wasted across the UK but Food in the Community work with local producers to make sure these foods can be used where they are most needed in the community. The group collect unwanted produce and distribute it to low income and vulnerable groups, charitable organisations and projects in the South Hams and surrounding areas.

They deliver boxes of fresh food to people recovering from cancer, and to others struggling to make ends meet as well as groups such as the Rainbow Nursery who feed up to 50 children. The deliveries mean they can ensure the children receive at least on healthy meal a day. The Nursery said: "We are a charity, so free and quality produce helps us hugely. We work with families that are hungry. We can support them with free bags of fruit and vegetables, which are very deeply appreciated."