Food and healthy eating group urgently needs cash to retain its Axminster shop and offices

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An Axminster-based charity working to help hard-pressed residents feed themsleves healthily has issued a Christmas SOS.

Health and Local Food for Families (HALFF) says it faces having to close its South Street shop unless it can urgently raise more money.

The store sells fruit and veg, hosts cooking and gardening sessions and also serves as the group’s offices. Without it the charity says its future would be uncertain.

Tiggy Parry, who founded the organisation in 2006, told The Herald this week: “We desperately need local donations to survive.

“Around £5,000 would give is another year here, and give us some breathing space to make it sustainable for the long term. We have survived the recession and done very well but we now have just that extra bit to do.”

Since setting up its shop in Axminster, HALFF has run courses for older people, especially people with or at risk of heart disease, homeless teenagers, people who have been made redundant from Axminster Carpets and parents of young children.

Every month they also cook with children attending the Millwey Rise youth group and this year they will be providing special Christmas meals for youngsters on the estate and at a youth club in Exmouth, as well as for older people in Axminster and for parents and their young children in Chard.

“Many of these people would not otherwise get a Christmas dinner and some may be spending Christmas alone,” the charity group has stressed.

All these activities are run by HALFF’s very committed staff and volunteers who are based at their “No HALFF Measures” shop.

Over the years HALFF has also run courses in Bridgewater, Honiton, Sidmouth and Lyme Regis.

Now the charity needs help itself and people are urged to donate on line at www.localgiving.com/halff or by calling 01297 631782 for more details.

They say every donation, however small, will make a difference and gifts over £10 given before Christmas through ‘localgiving’ will qualify for an additional £10 matched donation.

Added Tiggy: “Although food affects everyone’s health, we receive no funds from the Government.

“Many people don’t know how to provide a home cooked meal for their families – please help us to help them. Good food is so much more than just nutritious food. It affects our whole life.”

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