Free Food Sandown is set to stay and has new signage to prove it!
The shop was started by Dott Perrett two years ago and was originally based at Sandown Railway Station. However, renovation works meant it relocated to Lake High Street in November and this is now set to be their long-term base.
Dott explained: “The project started in 2019 when we noticed people were struggling but there was nowhere around here to help them.
“Newport have the pop-up soup kitchen and Aspire does so much for the people of Ryde. So we got together with the Sandown and Shanklin Co-ops to give away the food. However, it quickly became apparent that there was a greater need for this service, so we applied to become a charity, which meant we could get more funding.
“We had to move in November because of the work at the railway station so we have now made Lake our home. We pay a monthly rent here but it means it’s a permanent base.
“Normally charity shops can use somewhere free, but they are moved on if the landlord then finds someone who will pay to rent. The new signage is a way of saying that we’re here to stay. It says Free Food Sandown/D.I.D.D.I Lake Centre. The D.I.D.D.I stands for donate it and dump it.
“As well as free food, which we also deliver to people, over the next 10 weeks we will be delivering 50 hot meals a week to people who are single and have no one else.”
The shop’s main source of income is through donations and grants as well as help from Lake Parish Council, the Co-op, Tesco’s of Lake, and Lidl.
Dott added: “When things get back to normal we will be doing teas, coffees and snacks in the morning as well as selling stuff like children’s games, puzzles and shoes and this will all help towards our costs.
“We also have another shop, based in Ventnor, which is run through Lesley’s Nutshell and is also backed by the Co-op. It all helps us to help the local communities.”