The Old Dean Community Group
The Old Dean Community Group works with and supports those living in areas which are among the worst scoring on both the National and Surrey Multiple Deprivation index.
Difficulties include high morbidity, reduced life expectancy, low income, high obesity / Type 2 Diabetes and poor dietary habits. Alongside this there are reduced levels of literacy with a distrust of officialdom often meaning there is a very low acceptance of conventional interventions.
We have always been at the heart of this community but in response to the pandemic we created free food stalls, entirely in the open air, with a simple setup utilising public car parks etc and offering deliveries of food parcels to those unable to come to the stalls. We have found that this open air approach and the simplicity of these stalls may have been the best thing to have happened as it means what we do is now in public view and this has encouraged people walking and driving past to get to know our work and inspired many to give, or to come along for their own needs.
We can see the need for this service to expand beyond providing food and our hope is that with this funding we can provide more advice and support on diet and health - impacting on physical health, mental wellbeing, loneliness, social isolation and anxiety.
Coming to the stall encourages people to talk about their health, consume more fresh fruit and vegetables and shows them there are people who care about them. It encourages conversations allowing people to avoid the anxiety of using shops or certain services and most of all it creates friendships and reaches the corners that are hard to reach by other means. We would love to link with other groups that could support us in our ambition and especially to community gardens and allotments. We hope that you will support our journey.