Project Food

Project Food

At a glance


  • Health and well being / research and care
  • Poverty relief

Other details

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For the last 17 years Project Food (formerly HALFF) has been responding to changing needs in the community to support people to have a healthier diet.  From the beginning, the aim has been to provide comprehensive support for people: including healthy eating advice, cooking skills, communal eating and providing nutritious food – initially through a fruit and veg shop, which also sold inexpensive home made meals.  Since Covid, due to the worsening income inequality in the community, we stopped running the shop and instead we have been providing people most in need with free fruit and vegetable boxes, nutritious meals and recipe boxes, alongside providing group, one to one and family support to learn about food, nutrition, cooking and vegetable growing.

We also work very closely with East Devon District Council (EDDC) Economic Resilience team, EDDC (and other social housing) housing officers, East Devon Mental Health services and foodbanks and schools around the district.  In particular, in schools, we work with the SEND coordinators and family liaison officers who identify individuals or families most in need of our support.

80% of the adults with whom we work have long term mental and physical health conditions which prevent them from working.  They live, therefore on very low incomes, exacerbated by the geographical nature of Devon: largely rural, without mains gas or adequate public transport, having to travel far for shops and healthcare.  Isolation is, therefore, a big problem. 

80% of the children with whom we work have Special Educational Needs.  Many are not in school: a parent needs to stay at home to look after them and so the household income suffers.    

Beneficiaries tell us that they make new friends and are better connected, have an increased intake of fruit and vegetables, eat more homemade meals, have better knowledge of diet and health and have better cooking skills, leading to an improved diet.

For people in need of financial support our support includes a combination of fruit and vegetable and homemade meal boxes, recipe boxes, one to one or group support.  The impact on beneficiaries has been as follows:

  • 100% have reported eating more fruit and vegetables
  • 100% feel less isolated
  • 100% report increased knowledge and confidence around nutritious food
  • 100% of the young people report better self esteem


  • We improve health outcomes for families on low incomes and people with mental illness - including access to a good diet and ill health prevention. Food is closely linked to physical and mental health and well-being. By helping people to learn more about food and address some of the obstacles that they may encounter when trying to eat a good diet; this project will really help people on low incomes to access a good diet and prevent ill health.
  • We strengthen families and support groups of people that are more likely to experience poverty.   Families have told us that our food boxes help them to cook with their children, appreciate their skills and abilities and generally improve the parent – child bond. Evidence shows that people in poverty are more likely to have mental health problems and people with mental health problems are more likely to be living in poverty.
  • We help people on low incomes to maximise their household income and minimise their food costs by cooking more from scratch, reducing waste and using in season vegetables; building financial resilience and the capacity of people on a low income and people with mental health problems. By helping them to access support to improve their diet as well as aiming to help them to build their self-esteem, this project has the potential to profoundly affect the lives of the participants.
  • We help people to reduce food waste by working with food banks to support people to learn how to cook with the food in their weekly boxes.
  • We will reduce food waste from local farms and allotments, redistributing surplus seasonal fruit and veg, by cooking it into meals, and giving it to people in their food boxes.

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