The Storehouse is a charity based in Bideford, North Devon that was established in 2005 by a street worker and two church workers with the main aims of providing emergency food bags and free furniture and household goods to vulnerable families and individuals.
“In our busiest years of operation, our volunteers dealt with more than 3000 cases of need annually.”
In the proceeding years, other charitable organisations, including a food bank, were established in the area, so the charity’s main focus moved to its furniture and household goods operation, which to this day, runs from a town shop and nearby warehouse. Furniture and homewares are collected and rehomed with their free removal service, as well as being sold to raise funds to assist clients with flat deposits and those with severe cases of financial difficulty.
In recent years the charity has returned to its food offering, which has seen a huge resurgence in need since the start of the pandemic. Lockdown may have forced the furniture shop to close, but its doors remain open for its many clients that find themselves unable to afford food, and the Storehouse team are still on the road making vital deliveries of food and furniture to those that can’t leave their homes.
“We have helped many elderly and vulnerable people, those with mental health issues, addiction issues, the unemployed and low waged.”
“A single mum and four children recently became homeless. Whilst in temporary accommodation she had her furniture and clothes stored in a paid for lock up container and it all became damp and mouldy. She is moving into a new house in January 2021 but will struggle to replace the spoiled furniture and is in need of help.”
The Storehouse’s commitment to its services and clients is matched too by care and quality. They aim to provide good food produce where they can, and they consider those who have special dietary requirements. Moral support is also important, and these face-to-face encounters have also provided an opportunity to reach out emotionally too, and to help clients find additional support if it is needed.
“The Lockdown and Covid-19 created a sense of uncertainty and insecurity for many customers so we aim to be supportive and encouraging to people so that they can stay positive and improve their mental health. People have appreciated the sense of community that the food bank provides.”
Devon Community Foundation has been pleased to have been able to support The Storehouse’s work by providing grants to them in both December 2020 and again in January this year.
“The funding has helped in many ways as we were able to give away much larger food parcels to more people. We were able to give away a mixture of canned and dried food, fresh bread, fruit and vegetables. We have been able to help people on a gluten free diet with gluten free foodstuffs and vegetarians and vegans.”
We have been humbled to hear some of their incredible stories.
“We have helped an eighty-four year old lady, a former nurse who walks from Northam to Bideford and catches the bus back. I asked her the secret of her well being and longevity and she said ‘The three W's. Walking, Water and Work’.
“Several grandmothers were very appreciative of the support that we were able to give including one grandmother who had twenty one grandchildren.
“One family from Sri Lanka with a young child were feeling very isolated and were struggling and were also very grateful for the food and someone to talk to and share their concerns.
“We also just gave a top of the range wheelchair to a veteran with his family.
“We have also helped other members of the immigrant community who have felt isolated and alone not only with food but signposting to other agencies that could help them in their circumstances.
“We have also assisted with furniture and household goods to a veteran and two ladies coming out of domestic abuse situations.
“Our oldest customer is an 88 year old man who was an RAF pilot for 35 years and has been awarded a medal by the Queen. He is caring for his 90 year old wife and comes for a food parcel about once a week. It is a privilege to help him and all the others who need our support. It is great to help families who are struggling to put food on the table and we are very grateful for all our donations.”
The Storehouse was supported by our Community Food Programme: Winter Support Grants, funded by Devon County Council.
They also received some funding from our Devon Coronavirus Response & Recovery Fund to support the furniture element of their charitable work.
To find out more about applying to these funds please click here.
You can read much more about our emergency funding work in our Covid Report here.
Read more stories here.