Somerset West & Taunton Council is working in partnership with Somerset County Council, Rowbarton Methodist Church and surplus food charity, FareShare, to pilot a county-wide Local Pantry project, which is based at Rowbarton Methodist Church. With support from Somerset West & Taunton Council and its partners, it will be run by community volunteers who will coordinate weekly boxes of low-cost, nutritious food to around thirty households in North Taunton.

The Pantry continues well with 30 members who visit weekly. We have been delighted to receive one of the District’s Seed Corn Grants for new projects, and we hope that this will be used to gradually develop links with our members through connections with community agencies, such as Zing, who can offer family cooking workshops. Members have begun to share recipes on our new Facebook page.

There is much support from all the volunteers and it is a real team effort, and we are all learning together how the Pantry works. We are always looking for anyone who may be able to help even if it’s one morning or afternoon a month. There are two shifts, the morning is 11.00 – 1.30 and the afternoon is 1.30 – 4.30. If you would like to join the scheme as a volunteer or member, please contact the team, by emailing

Care and Relief for Young (C.R.Y.):
‘Reflecting on the past year of the Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdowns, many of us have had different hardships, loss, fear, illness and more. We have been praying for you, our supporters, over this difficult year.

‘For many families and children in poorer countries, however, these are often daily realities which they must face. The continuance of war, famine, poor sanitation, and lack of opportunities create long-term hardships for millions of children around the world.

‘C.R.Y. is providing, amid these situations, education, nutrition, support, health advice and care. We want to see a world where every child, no matter where they were born, can survive and thrive. C.R.Y. is still moving, God is still working, and lives are being changed. Thank you as always for partnering with us to help families.’

An item of good news is that C.R.Y. Charity shops have re-opened following the easing of lockdown on 12th April and there was a day of record sales. Projects are slowly opening back up and, for those still in lockdown, lives are being changed through distribution of food packs and socially distanced care.

Projects highlighted in the latest newsletter are:

• Cross over project, Zimbabwe - where children are being helped to catch up on education and being provided with nutrition following lockdown.

• Breakfast Club, Haiti – provision of education, nutrition, and self-support at the Centre’s farm. This work goes on despite unrest and gangs controlling the streets.

• Community Centre, Kurdistan – Community Centre open where schools have been closed.

• The Michael Project, Zimbabwe – support for three pre-schools, children’s home and adoption and foster care programme. Good to re-open after lockdown

More information at

Action for Children:
A Safe and Happy Childhood

‘The first 1001 days of a child’s life are integral to a safe and happy childhood.’ The importance of the early years of a child’s development. A report by MP Andrea Leadsom highlights the ‘baby blind-spots’ in the government’s recent policy decisions. Action for Children welcomes her ongoing commitment to the early years. Her review has renewed focus on this vital area.

Those creating the report visited an Action for Children’s Centre in Tavistock and spoke to Vicky, who had received support for three of her four children. Vicky also attended early years group sessions to meet other parents as well as get support from staff.

Other items focussed in the newsletter include:

• Report from Denise, a volunteer from Northern Ireland, who has cerebral palsy and a speech impairment.

• Delivering residential services in Scotland during the Covid-19 pandemic.

• Introducing a partnership with ‘Horrible Histories’ to develop a subscription pack for 7–10-year-olds.

• ‘The Big Ask’ survey from Children’s Commissioners of England for every child between the ages of 4 and 17.

More details at

Charities and other Organisations Needing Your Support
or That Can Offer Support to You ...

Traidcraft plc is a trading company which imports a huge variety of artisan products and groceries from the developing world. All the products are Fairly-traded, the profits going straight to the producers to help them to sustain their families through employment.

Temple supports and promotes the aims of TRAIDCRAFT. It is hoped at some time in the future Temple will be able to offer a limited selection TRAIDCRAFT goods. Until then TRAIDCRAFT catalogues are available to anyone who wishes to peruse at their leisure what TRAIDCRAFT offers or you can see all available products on the TRAIDCRAFT Website -

Safe Families are looking for volunteers in Somerset who might be able to support a family virtually through telephone or video calls. Certain people may also be free to pick up shopping, but staying in contact through this period of isolation is a priority need. There is a checking process, training and oversight for any volunteers. (Don't be put off by this - it probably just means joining a short virtual training session.)

If anyone feels they are in a position to help in this way, you are able to sign up on the volunteer website page.

You can find out more about the work of the charity from the website, and - whether you are able to volunteer practically or not - we are encouraged to pray for their work.

The latest update is that they are doing ok for volunteers and the Council has given them delivery vans and drivers. However, they would welcome additional supplies. Please find details on Taunton Foodbank website of their updated list of items to shop for and also how to donate if you are unable to go out shopping.

As up to date as possible, the printable A-Z Food Suppliers Directory can be found here: Coronavirus Community Help Taunton

Christian Aid Week 2021 is 10th - 16th May. It is unlikely that the usual door to door collections can take place due to COVID-19. It is hoped to hold virtual coffee mornings that week to help raise money. For details about Christian Aid Week see here.

In the world’s poorest communities people are having to face coronavirus without access to running water and soap. Living in cramped and unhygienic conditions, social distancing simply isn’t possible. All We Can and the Methodist Church in Britain have launched an Emergency Coronavirus Appeal to help equip vulnerable communities across the globe to combat coronavirus.

YOUR NEIGHBOUR, aims to support the work that churches are doing to be good neighbours in communities across the UK during the coronavirus crisis. They will support vulnerable, people working as a coordinated national response, partnering with the UK government and other agencies.

MHA are looking to recruit volunteers across the country to help them through the coronavirus crisis and support their clients. The roles are flexible and will be allocated dependent upon the needs of services in your local area. You can find details of the roles here.

Action for Children is helping to provide essentials to the most vulnerable families they support across the UK and those potentially affected in the future. You can read more here.

Taunton Welcomes Refugees:
As Covid restrictions are lifted there is a chance that some more refugees and asylum seekers will be resettled in Somerset and we have been asked by the council to be ready to help support them.

also see ...

Coronovirus (COVID-19) and Other Websites webpages