Nourishing food for Axminster's vulnerable

  Posted: 28.05.20 at 14:02 by Philip Evans

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THE coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated in many different ways what a great community spirit exists in Axminster.

The ACER (Axminster Community Emergency Response) is a good example of this with all the principal charitable organisations in the town coming together to ensure that the vulnerable and elderly popular of the town are well cared for during the Covid-19 crisis.

Another charity which has very much come to the fore during the crisis is Nourish Axminster, run by Karen Taylor, a former professional cook who is using her culinary talents and big heart to ensure no one in the town goes hungry.

Karen, 54, who has lived in Axminster since 2011, has been working alongside ACER and other venues such as the Millwey Community Centre and Pippins in Axminster, cooking meals and freezing them down for those in difficult circumstances who might not be able to afford nutritious meals.

Since founding Nourish Axminster Karen has been involved in the Holiday Hunger programme, producing meals for children who get free school meals. She also cooked Christmas meals for those in need and she also helps individual with their dietary requirements.

She launched her charity by using her own financial resources but since has been well supported by the local councils, including a £1,000 grant from East Devon District Council, and donations from well wishers.

Karen, who honed her cooking skills in the catering industry and learned a great deal from her mother, was using the kitchen facilities at Millwey Rose and Pippins community centres, but she had to vacate these when lockdown was introduced.

Before coronavirus Karen hosted a twice a month breakfast club for young mothers at Pippins after dropping off their kids at the nearby schools. She hopes to revive this after the epidemic is over.

Since then she has been working on her own from the excellent kitchen facilities at the Guildhall in Axminster where she has been preparing up to 100 frozen meals a week, many of which she delivers to doorsteps herself.

Karen told Axminster Nub News: “I know what it’s like to live on the breadline and have watched in horror what the impact of welfare reform has done to people in our community.

“With benefit sanctions being handed out almost at the drop of a hat, the bedroom tax, disability benefits now even harder to access and Universal Credit, people are really struggling.

“Here is Axminster we have one or two venues in which to source food to help when times get hard. Our Food Bank is wonderful, a much needed resource which delivers non-perishable foods. Once upon a time the need for a food bank would have been a short stop-gap, but now, for some, it’s a weekly occurrence.”

You can donate to Nourish via the GoFundMe website

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