Hi, my name is Lianne and I am the original founder of Diamond Hampers CIC. I am the director of the organisation and manage both the stores we run in Huntingdon.
Together with me I have a wonderful team of volunteers for Diamond Hampers that along with the many others, really are the key to our successes.
Diamond Hampers was initially set up to address a huge dignity gap across the community and to develop something that hadn’t been done before.
We wanted to be the hands up that people needed in crisis, not the hand out.
Our aim was to provide empowerment, not enablement.
We put together a hamper of balanced food, which was a new initiative and unlike the standard food parcel you may expect to receive from a food aid provider.
Along with tinned and dried goods, we provided and still do – a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen and refrigerated items.
We deliver these emergency food hampers seven days a week across the entire District and beyond.
When working to offer support with each person that is referred to us, we work with and for them to make referrals to external agencies in order to build and develop longer term solutions that will see them no longer requiring emergency intervention.
We developed two stores which have been running for 3 years, providing access to affordable food, clothing and other essential homeware and hygiene products.
It allows people the opportunity to shop both independently and affordably. Bridging dignity gaps all across the wider community and allowing the freedom of choice.
In our Pantry store, we offer a fill a basket deal for just £4 and this can be filled up of fruits, vegetables and many other items including cereals, pasta and cakes.
In our Attic store, we offer clothing at affordable prices, with the majority being just £1 and offer to loan out suits/interview wear to help people access paid employment.
Alongside this, we offer school uniform at just £1 a piece or for free to families faced with extreme crisis.
We support families with their children attending the Guiding Association groups by providing books, uniform and financial support to attend session that will allow their children a chance to get more involved with the community, improve their social skills and their mental health and well-being.
In addition to all of this, we redirect large volumes of food waste, 7 days a week, all month and year long.
We redirect anywhere from between 10 tonnes to 25 tonnes of food every month.
This is food that would ordinarily be sent to landfill.
Instead we collect it from many local supermarkets and businesses and make it available through our Pantry store and food hampers.
We have a system set up with the County Council and we support all their young people leaving care for the first time. We provide them with what is called a “moving on box”. These are filled with essential household appliances and dinnerware etc. It enables them the chance to get set up in their new homes and feel better supported and settled.
It has proven to reduce how many young people are committing crimes in order to gain the belongings they need.
Our efforts are for many more too and we supply similar packages to families being rehoused due to an emergency scenario. For instance a domestic abuse case.
Our support extends over international borders too and we became the main support hub for sending supplies to Ukraine during the dreadful war. We filled two entire lorry containers with food, medical supplies, clothing and much more.
We then continued that work here in the UK, supporting refuges with starting their new lives here and giving them the best possible chance at a much better life.
Some other services we offer are:
Let me just share some of the figures that we have achieved in just 3.5 years.
This is just a keyhole view of the work we do within Diamond Hampers and we are always looking at new ways to support our communities.
We are in fact for the people and the planet.
For the community, not for profit.
https://www.foodaidnetwork.org.uk/The Independent Food Aid Network’s strategy:
This strategy sets out how the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) seeks to realise this vision and achieve its aims whilst upholding the core principles first outlined when the organisation was founded in 2016.
IFAN’s vision is of a UK where everyone can eat good food and emergency food aid is no longer necessary.