Local food heroes of coronavirus: The Larder of Oakham

The Larder in Oakham has responded to the coronavirus crisis in an inspirational way. When lockdown started, Great Food Club’s Café of the Year 2020 chose to close temporarily to help struggling people in the local community.

Co-owner Alyson Kyle, who runs the café with Iain Stares, explains: “We considered opening The Larder as a takeaway and delivery service, but many others are already doing that – and doing it well. So we decided to give something back – albeit small. The government has given strong support to small businesses, which is partly why we felt able to do this.”

The Larder is making and delivering around 300-400 meals a week, free of charge

Since temporarily closing its doors, The Larder has been providing ready-meals in and around Rutland to around 60 households twice weekly, equating to 300-400 meals a week. It is doing this completely free of charge while simultaneously raising funds via its Free Food For Rutland Just Giving page. At the time of writing, the page is just short of £2,000 in donations. 

The meals are simple, hearty dishes – stews, casseroles, pies, soups and curries. Other local businesses, including Hitchen’s Barn and Leesons Butchers, are donating ingredients.

Alyson says: “The thinking behind the service is to offer a helping hand to those who might be struggling with the current Covid situation. We have no eligibility criteria but many recipients are the elderly with no nearby relatives, the self-isolating or people who have lost their jobs. We also deliver to a few NHS keyworkers. Some deliveries are regular and others are one-offs to help people if they’re having a difficult week.”

For more information, visit The Larder’s Facebook page.

Matt Wright
The author:

Matt lives in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. He is passionate about the independent food & drink sector and founded Great Food Club in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town.