Here's to the end of a difficult year - Anthony Bernard

Graphs showing the demand for Exmouth Community Larder

Graphs showing the demand for Exmouth Community Larder - Credit: Anthony Bernard

Anthony Bernard, of Exmouth Community Larder, writes for the Journal

Exmouth Community Food Larder manager Anthony Bernard.

Exmouth Community Food Larder manager Anthony Bernard. - Credit: Picture: Simon Horn.

Job losses from the closure of major stores are adding to the list of people out of work.

However, while big stores are closing, their customers will be looking for new suppliers and manufacturers seeking alternative outlets - new doors will open where old doors close.

More worrying is the travel industry; airlines have let many staff go, though West Country tourism may benefit from more customers in due course.

The Exmouth Community Larder has seen a huge increase in need from people in a 'food emergency'.

The graph has been re-arranged to show the start of the pandemic in April 2020 as the beginning.

April 2021 will probably show an even greater need as the financial hardships of the job losses and aftermath of the Covid Crisis continue to bite and savings run out.

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The graph shows the previous levels of support

The Community Larder gave to people in difficulties, last year in red showed an increase over the previous average in blue, but nothing compared with the surge at the start of the crisis.

The numbers this April and May are enhanced by people "isolating" and needing help before commercial deliveries expanded to their needs - not normal Larder users!

Many recipients of government hand-outs at that time donated them to The Larder. However, June onwards shows this settling down, with a near doubling from previous years. and this rise is likely to continue.

The vaccine will not protect against job loss, and it will be several months before vaccination helps us to get out of semi-lockdown anyway. Brexit will add another complication to 'Trade' and jobs - those worrying about delays at Dover forget that French fishermen will blockade Calais if they don't get what they want!! So basic needs will soar again, hopefully not compounded by another virus surge after the holidays

Change happens all the time, but rarely so unexpectedly or dramatically.

Media High Street news reports of businesses in difficulties are 50% from activities that did not exist ten years ago!

Hospitality is upset at having to close - but my local was the Beacon Vaults in Exmouth, shut some years ago and still not re-opened!

The crisis when Woolworths closed is now forgotten!! Successes are from people adapting in the face of adversity, selling online instead of in a shop, take-away meals instead of sitting down!

The pasty was not designed to be eaten on a plate with a knife and fork!!

The great positive is that The Larder has an amazing team organising food deliveries, with even more brilliant support from the whole Community providing reserves of basics.

So no-one in our locality should be without food - pass the news if there are people struggling who do not know how to contact The Larder / Foodbank.

2020 has been a strange and tough year, but there have been positive events which we may have missed in the overwhelming gloom created by Covid19. In January we can all look forward to working out of the darkness and into the light!!

Christmas promised Glad Tidings of Great Joy ….. but, like Santa's little helpers, it is up to us, the ordinary people, to make it work positively for everyone, sharing as needed. There are actually many positive things for all of us, Santa's little helpers, to work on!!

Happy New Year - celebrate safely!!

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