VILLAGERS in Lustleigh have found a way to simultaneously support their local shop and people in need across Teignbridge in an innovative new scheme.

The scheme, organised and funded by Lustleigh Association of Drivers (LADS) will match all donations bought from the local store in order to boost business for The Dairy, the village’s community-owned shop.

This means that for every item bought by a customer and placed in the shop’s food bank collecting basket, a matching item will also be bought from the shop by LADS to donate.

‘The idea came from one of our clever members,’ said Jeremy Grammer, chairman of LADS.

‘This way we can help the shop and give extra to those who rely on foodbanks in Teignbridge.’

The recipient of the double donations is the food bank organised by Homeless in Teignbridge Support, or HITS, a local charity supporting the homeless and those in crisis.

‘Now we can benefit two causes that are close to our hearts’, said Mr Grammer, ‘helping people in need and also bringing business to our much-valued shop’.

Roger Clark, LADS Treasurer, said: ‘To date, we’ve raised over £320 in cash and over £200 in goods, so the community has already contributed £500 to HITS. Because of the scheme, we have matched that. So as a whole community, we’ve already contributed over £1000 to HITS which I think is extraordinary. The challenge now is to continue the momentum onwards.’

LADS was established more than 20 years ago as a service provided by a team of 20 volunteer drivers who transport villagers to medical appointments and make other essential journeys.

Cllr David Cox, Trustee of HITS, said: ‘Thanks very much to this small community making such a big impact.

‘It’s not just the cash, but it’s the love and support that communities are giving to people.’

Shirley Wenham, who runs the shop with Dean Copson, said: ‘Ultimately, this will help people in Teignbridge to not go hungry. We’ve got some really keen members of the community in the shop who donate all the time.

‘Thanks to LADS and the community for supporting both us and HITS at the same time.’