Okehampton cafe owner Rebecca Green has organised a public meeting for residents and local organisations to discuss ideas to battle food insecurity in the area.

Mrs Green, who runs 3 East Street and the Okehampton Community Kitchen, will hold the meeting at the Ockment Centre on November 20 at 4pm where she hopes members of the community will come together to offer suggestions of ways that the town might support those struggling to cook or buy enough food for themselves as prices rise.

She said: ‘What I’m trying to do is pull together anyone across the town who has anything to do or any interest in cost of living, food, warmth, anything like that to do and put them all in one room because there are all these things going on all over the place but we need to check if anyone actually wants the services.

‘What we’ve found is that some people don’t like taking food parcels for instance, and others want to give back to the community. Instead, we could give them cooking lessons or slow cookers or air fryers and they can then cook an extra portion of food for someone else in the community.’

Many other Okehampton businesses and organisations are working to provide support for those struggling through the cost of living crisis, but Mrs Green wants to encourage organisations, businesses and individuals to work together and form a united front to offer a wide range of support.

Mrs Green added: ‘We’re looking at thinking outside the box and looking at what, as a community, we have. What resources have we got? What farms have got anything or might have a surplus? What businesses do we have that we know at the end of the day have stuff left over?

‘If we did provide slow cooker or we give some food out and somebody turns it into something, they might then give a portion of that to their neighbour. And they might then become on the list of people who don’t mind feeding someone in their area if you know they struggle.

‘There’s lots of different reasons why people need food support, and sometimes it’s an inability to cook and it’s down to age or illness.’

Since the beginning of the cost of living crisis, many food support organisations including the community kitchen and Okehampton Foodbank have reported seeing an increase in the number of residents needing their help.

Other businesses and individuals across the town are also organising support for those struggling to afford food, including Future Bodies gym owner Josh Ware who opened his food drive campaign last week to raise enough money to cover the cost of Christmas dinner ingredients which will be delivered to all foodbank users.

He has also asked residents to donate much needed essentials to the foodbank which Mr Ware and his team will deliver to those in need.

The Okehampton Community Kitchen will also be putting on a range of Christmas activities at the Ockment Centre on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day for anyone in need of company, warmth or struggling in any way.