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Crucial support for food project
Harry Deacon, who co-runs Cultivate Cornwall, was delighted to say that his community group will keep up its fantastic work after entering a new partnership

Harry Deacon, who co-runs Cultivate Cornwall, was delighted to say that his community group will keep up its fantastic work after entering a new partnership

17th March 2021

By Ollie Young

After a gruelling year, where they provided over 500,000 meals during the pandemic, the Cultivate Cornwall team are set for a short break before entering into its new partnership.

The Bodmin community interest company (CIC), run by Harry Deacon and John Lakey, has supported food banks across the county as the demand for food sky rocketed during the numerous lockdowns.

However, they are now set for a new partnership which will see them become part of a national charity network, continuing to aid the demand for food.

Speaking to the Voice, Harry explained: “Our main funding for Cultivate Cornwall has been the National Lottery and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), but at the end of the month both of those avenues will end.

“Essentially, from the end of March, we have no funding and nowhere near the amount of food to support what we have been doing.

“Fortunately, we have been able to build up relationships with local schemes that will allow us to carry on to some extent; St Ewe Free Range Eggs for example.

“We will also be going into partnership with FareShare and contract talks are at the final stage.”

FareShare is a charity network aimed at relieving food poverty and reducing food waste countrywide, which has been running since 1994.

The new relationship with FareShare won’t see Bodmin go without, as Cultivate Cornwall are keen to set up a food club for the town from the end of April which will see food made available for minimum expenditure.

Harry also pointed out that, in the face of Cornwall’s poverty, it was still behind in terms of this scheme.

“Cornwall, despite the level of deprivation we experience, is the only county without a FareShare facility which is pretty staggering,” he remarked. “From the end of April, we will start supporting food banks and food projects again with the help of FareShare with the food supply initially coming from across the UK.

“But we are intending to start looking at using local businesses but we estimate that will take us around a year to get back to the level we are now.

“At the moment, we are supporting 25 food banks across Cornwall and the work we are currently doing is providing around 40,000 meals a week.”

Shelley Wright, development manager for Devon and Cornwall at FareShare South West, said: “It is a pleasure to partner with frontline community projects like Cultivate Cornwall.

“They know first-hand where emergency food is most needed in their community, and by working together we can ensure that food gets to those most in need.”

Before they enter into the exciting new link-up, 25-year-old Harry is keen for his team to recharge their batteries before the hard work resumes.

He added: “The team is all burned out and we are on our last legs, we are going to take a few weeks to recover and have a rest and have time with our families. It has been a mammoth year for everyone.”