There With You: Axe Valley charity appeals for help

HALFF regular customer Audrey O'Shaughnessy who is being urged to stay home. Picture: HALFF

HALFF regular customer Audrey O'Shaughnessy who is being urged to stay home. Picture: HALFF - Credit: Archant

An Axminster-based healthy-eating charity is appealing for urgent help to continue its work in supporting vulnerable people during the Coronavirus pandemic.

HALFF says its team of volunteers is already 50 per cent down because of self-isolation.

And its main source of income - an annual fundraisng dinner at River Cottage due to be held last week - had to be cancelled.

Founder Tiggy Parry said they are facing a fight to survive.

She said: “Literally every day I have one or two of my staff or volunteers telling me they have to self-isolate. “We are looking for people to answer the phones, sort vegetables and help in the shop, and at this moment we also urgently need financial support to help cover our costs.”

For the last ten years, the HALFF Food Hub in South Street, Axminster, has been supplying fresh fruit and vegetables to the local community and beyond.

Now, more than ever, the shop is proving a life-line for those who are particularly vulnerable.

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Said Ms Parry: “We’ve been completely overwhelmed by the number of people asking for deliveries.

“More and more people are having to self-isolate and, of course, we’ve still got our regulars who’ve been using us for years - including many who are in their seventies and eighties.

“Audrey O’Shaughnessy is a typical example of one of our customers who’s been a regular in the shop since she lost her husband a few years ago.

“We know that being isolated would be particularly hard for her, along with many thousands of people like her. Being on your own right now is very, very hard.”

The charity was originally created to help people produce healthy meals at home and has, to date, helped more than 5,000 people in Devon, Somerset and Dorset.

Now it is having to re-think the support it gives.

Said Ms Parry: “Our free delivery services is one of the best ways we can help people in these very difficult times.

“We’re also regularly phoning our customers, giving them that all-important social contact, as well as making sure they’re still eating properly.

“As a small charity we have been able to respond quickly to the situation and are already in touch with hundreds of people across East Devon, many of whom will struggle to look after themselves.”

To help this vital community organisation in any way, call 01297 631782, e-mail or go to