OKEHAMPTON is a stronger community three years on from Covid, a charity founder has said.
Rebecca Green founded her not-for-profit Okehampton Community Kitchen after lockdown exposed need in the town.
The first lockdown, brought in three years ago this week to check the spread of the killer virus, saw people confined to their homes and unable to shop for food and basic essentials.
This hit elderly and vulnerable people hardest, and the Okehampton Covid Support Group - a group of volunteers - was set up to help them.
From this Rebecca's Okehampton Community Kitchen was born, with the help of volunteers, to provide hot meals for people she realised had slipped through the net - not just during Covid, but well before that.
It continues to this day, from premises in Okehampton town centre.
Rebecca said: ' When we went into lockdown, suddenly everybody knew who their neighbours were again and we discovered lots of things that were needed in the community that nobody had done because nobody knew how bad the problems were.
'Now, rather than going back to the old normal we have committed a new normal where people come together to better support the town and that can only be a good thing. There are so many organisations now we work with such as the foodbank, the Ockment Centre and Simon Chudleigh at the London Inn. We are a foodbank ourselves - we don't open on Fridays but we are open on the other days of the week and we are open two evenings a week so food is more accessible to people. Crucially we don't want elderly people to be sad at home only eating a sandwich because they can't afford to put the heating on. It gives us a chance to make lasting change.
'Now, with the cost of living crisis, the town is in a better more resilient place than it was. The framework is already there. Everyone has kept working together.'