ACE (Action in Caerau & Ely) has set up the Dusty Forge Pantry, to be run and used by local people, at its base in west Cardiff. It will be officially launched at ACE’s open day on Wednesday 3 July 3.
The project is the latest in the growing Your Local Pantry network, and the network’s first in Wales.
Pantries are membership-based food clubs that enable people to access food at a small fraction of its usual supermarket price, improving household food security and freeing up more money for other essential household costs such as rent and utilities. The weekly fee at Dusty Forge is £5 for which members will be able to choose ten items, with a total value of around £20.
So far, 50 members have signed up, and the charity plans for that to increase to 150 by the end of this year.
Sam Froud-Powell, community support coordinator at ACE, said: “We are really excited to be launching the Your Local Pantry at the Dusty Forge community centre. The pantry provides members with good quality food, including fresh produce, for an affordable membership fee. This helps local families struggling with food costs to eat more healthily and expand the range of food in their weekly shop.”
Pantries are sustainable, long-term, community-led solutions that can loosen the grip of food poverty in a particular neighbourhood. They can be part of a progressive journey to help people move beyond food bank use, or can help reduce a family’s need for a food bank.
They provide members with more choice over the food they get than is possible at food banks, and are controlled by the members, strengthening the community’s ability to prevent food poverty or to progress out of food crisis.
Pantries source their food from a variety of sources, such as supermarket surplus via food recycling charity Fareshare, and by developing relationships with local food businesses who offer surplus food, which helps to reduce food waste and puts savings in the hands of people who are struggling to cover their weekly outgoings, potentially creating a virtuous circle.
Stockport Homes and the charity Church Action on Poverty are supporting the roll-out of pantries across the UK, under the banner of Your Local Pantry, after initial projects in Stockport were shown to have brought social, financial and health benefits including reducing isolation, averting food poverty and improving local people’s mental health. An impact report last year found pantry members had saved £650 a year on average on their shopping bills, and that every £1 invested in pantries generated £6 in social value.
Niall Cooper, director of Church Action on Poverty, said: “Pantries are a great way for local people to come together, strengthen their community and loosen the grip of high prices. Rising living costs and stagnating incomes have made life increasingly difficult for many people, but pantries provide immediate, visible support that can protect people from being swept into poverty.”
Anybody interested in setting up a Your Local Pantry in their community is invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org