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Our Management Team

Left to Right Graham (Founder) Sarah (Online Sales), Eliot (Felixstowe Shop Manager) Becky (Walton Shop Manager)

A Quick History

The BASIC Life Charity was started to provide a resource for the local community in January 2000.

Our first traditional charity shop opened next to Safeway in Felixstowe and we were able to not only supply financial assistance to local people, groups and organisations but also to provide a safe place for people to visit.

We also provided help to overseas missions such as donating £6,000 to the DEC appeal following the Boxing Day Tsunami in the far East, providing medical care in India and midwifery support in Nepal.

Over the years we grew and relocated to a shop in Orwell Road, Felixstowe and then on to our present address at 17 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe.

We also opened a second shop at 312 High Street, Walton, Near Felixstowe.

As we became more aware of local needs we decided that all profit would be restricted for use in the local areas of Felixstowe, Walton, the Trimley Villages and Kirton.

We provided medical equipment to all local surgeries, averaging £2,000 per site and continued to support innumerable individuals.

In March 2013, as we came to the end of the recession, we realised that people were suffering from food insecurity (that is not always knowing where the next meal was coming from), so we started traditional food banks at each of our shops.

These developed into our BASIC Community Pop-Up Shops which proved to be extremely popular with local people as there was absolutely no referral or 'means test' to obtain the food.

At the same time we worked extremely hard to forge links with major high street supermarkets, whom we knew had excess food.

The Pop-Up Shop model worked so well that we spread it to six different sites across Felixstowe and Trimley, meaning that local people had access to at least one every couple of days.

Local churches replicated our original idea.

Eventually we decided to expand the idea, first into Ipswich and then into rural Suffolk.

We opened at six sites in Ipswich and the project was described as 'the best outreach the church has ever known' as more and more people attended.

In 2021 we were providing food to literally hundreds of families each and every week.

At the end of that year we decided to 'gift' the pop-up shops in Felixstowe to the churches where they are held and at the beginning of 2022 we did the same with the Ipswich ones.

We are expanding, as planned into more rural locations while we have planted the seeds at many sites and have now 'let go' as they flourish and are self-sustainable.

During the Covid pandemic we were the only local food resource with delivery in the entire area. We transformed our shops into 'Emergency Resource Centres' and were open every day to assist those in need. Our methods were described as 'Best practise' by Suffolk County Council.

At the same time as the Pop-Up Shops have been operating we have been extremely active in the local community by providing significant grants to local people in extreme need and during 2021 we raised £20,000 and provided cutting-edge technology to nine local schools.

In 2022 we donated up to £10,000 to local nurseries.

We continue to grow and meet the needs of local people as they arise, whether with food provision, financial need or supplying items from our stock.

We feel that we have more than covered the food needs in Suffolk, with a large number of pop-up shops now operating and in 2023 we are planning to deal with financial assistance to those in need.

In August 2022 we took over ownership of the former Laydens Cafe in Langley Avenue, Felixstowe.

Now known as the BASIC Community Cafe it is an ongoing project and we have many plans to develop and expand it's use. We held a Christmas Bazaar at the Cafe in December 2022 and an open night as a warm space with free food, drinks and gifts on Christmas Eve, 2022.

Graham Denny


January 2023

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