How to save £22 a week on food AND help your community

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North Manchester is the latest area to join the pantry revolution

Imagine being able to reduce your shopping bills by 87%.
Imagine, instead of a basket of essentials costing you £26.41, it cost you only £3.50.
And imagine being able to make that saving every week.
What would you do with the extra money in your pocket? What pressures would be eased? What new opportunities could you or your family enjoy?
It’s not a pipe dream. Those savings are a reality for people who join community run food pantries, like the one that has just opened at The Lighthouse Project in Middleton, north Manchester.
See what the project’s manager Carl Roach, and patron Steve Coogan, had to say at Monday’s launch:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aztcr_ze4XU]
All  over the country, poverty has been tightening its grip. Rising living costs and a freeze on welfare payments and many wages have combined to create a dangerous current, that has swept many people into poverty for the first time or into deeper difficulty.
The Your Local Pantry network makes a big difference. By enabling people to access food for a fraction of its usual price, thanks to organisations such as Fareshare, we can ease the pressure on households. Instead of being trapped by impossible budgets, families and individuals can loosen the chains a little and achieve more of their potential.
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The Lighthouse Pantry’s weekly fee is £3.50 and the a weekly visit for members is currently worth £26.41 on average, meaning a saving of £22.91 a week, or almost £1,200 over a year. The pantry has 70 members so far, and Lighthouse Project’s development manager, Carl Roach, hopes that could rise to 150.
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Carl said: “We could see that even after helping people pass through times of food crisis it was still difficult for them to fully make ends meet on limited income. When we came across the Pantry idea we immediately saw that this could be a useful stepping-stone, helping people reduce their food costs, feed their families and keep more money is the household to pay other bills.
“It helps struggling families, it helps reduce supermarket food waste, and it demonstrates the power of community action for those who really value the support. It is just the kind of win-win project that we like to get involved with.”
The Lighthouse Project is a charity that provides a wide range of important services and groups in the community. [You can learn more about their amazing work here]. The pantry was opened by the charity’s patron, TV and film actor Steve Coogan.
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Mr Coogan said: “The genius of The Lighthouse Project is that everyone understands that most people’s problems don’t exist in isolation, they are often interconnected. A problem with money can affect a relationship or an emotional issue, or the other way round. The difficulties people encounter can have knock on effects. Lighthouse tries to deal with these things together, holistically and individually. Most importantly of all, the coming together all those who support The Lighthouse Project means it is more than the sum of its parts. It inspires other initiatives. It’s my hope that, through The Lighthouse, the people of Middleton will be an example to other communities up and down the country to show that when people come together to help each other as a community, everybody benefits.”
It sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Why not speak to other people in your neighbourhood, and see whether a Your Local Pantry could help strengthen your community as well.
A report last year, looking at the impact of the first few pantries in Stockport, found they were making an incredible difference, helping to:

  • Reduce isolation
  • Avert food poverty
  • Improve local people’s mental health

The report found that every £1 invested was worth £6 to the community, and more than 1,100 households in Stockport alone had benefited from using pantries.
Church Action on Poverty and Stockport Homes are supporting the nationwide roll-out of pantries, under the banner of Your Local Pantry, so if you’d like to set one up or would like to find out more, please email project officer Laura Jones on laura@church-poverty.org.uk

Comments (01)

  1. My church at St James, higher Broughton in Salford has one of these and the minister, Christine Threlfall, pioneered this idea and others like the pantry featured took on, and there’s now one in Blackley called The Bread and Butter thing.

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