Meet Our Team
Claire Ritchie (BEM, ACA)
In April 2020, Claire was volunteering in her community during the first lockdown and started to wonder how people were affording their weekly shops if they had lost their jobs or were furloughed due to Covid.
She decided to start raising money for those families, in order to buy them fresh food, which could be chosen by themselves and then bought and delivered to them by a volunteer.
Uppermost in her mind was the desire to leave people with as much self-respect and dignity as she could, given their very trying circumstances. Having control over what they fed their families seemed fundamental to that.
Within a few days, she had assembled an admin team, raised several thousand pounds, and recruited an army of volunteers. Thus Lockdown Larder was born.
At the end of August, with many other benefits now in place for people, it was decided to suspend operations for a short while, but by the end of November it was clear that help was still needed, and so the whole team reassembled under the new name of Sevenoaks Larder, starting with a bang at Christmas and the Christmas week shop of up to £75 per household.
Local girl Claire was educated at Amherst Primary, Walthamstow Hall and then the City of London Polytechnic (now London Metropolitan University) before training as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Whinney in London, becoming the youngest in the firm to qualify. She worked there for eight years before leaving to raise her family in Sevenoaks.
She volunteered for several years at the Hospice In the Weald, and has been a voluntary Teaching Assistant at Weald Primary School for the last 16 years.
As a result of her work with Lockdown Larder and then Sevenoaks Larder Claire was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2022, for ‘Services to the community in Sevenoaks, particularly during Covid-19.
She feels immensely proud and privileged to be Chair of Trustees at Sevenoaks Larder, and to work with the other amazing trustees, volunteers and clients.