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The first Your Local Pantry in Nottingham has opened to members.
Meadows Pantry opened in Bridgeway Hall Methodist Mission in The Meadows on September 28th.
There are just over 100 venues in the Your Local Pantry network, but this is first in Nottingham, or Nottinghamshire.
The Pantry had held a soft launch earlier in September, ahead of the official opening.
Mark Knowles, Pantry coordinator, said they had heard about the success of Pantries elsewhere, and decided it would be a positive addition to the community.
He said: “We have run a busy food bank in Bridgeway Hall for ten years, and see the Pantry as an opportunity for people in The Meadows to access quality food at a good price on an ongoing, regular basis. It has been well-received and local people are really pleased.”
There has been a steady flow of members already.
One of the shoppers at the launch day was Lidiia, who has been living in The Meadows since leaving Ukraine a year ago.
She said: “It’s a really good idea and I really like the organisation with the hearts and diamonds system, and the very good variety. I really like it. The Nottingham people have been very kind and welcoming.”
She was particularly pleased with the wide variety of food, which included a couple of ingredients she was accustomed to in Ukraine as well.
Shabir Jivraj, Midlands development coordinator for Your Local Pantry, said: “Pantries are wonderful places that bring people together around food, soften the impact of high living costs, and really strengthen the power and potential of neighbourhoods. They improve local food systems, while upholding everyone’s dignity, choice and hope.
“They are a reminder of the power and potential within communities – we can all do and be so much more when we pull together.
“We’re delighted to welcome Meadows Pantry to the network, and look forward to meeting and getting to know the members and volunteers.”
Pantries help to strengthen community, improve people’s physical and mental health, and improve people’s financial situation by reducing grocery bills.
Members can access food at a small fraction of its usual supermarket price, improving household food security, and also enjoy wide-ranging additional outcomes. Members at Meadows Pantry pay £5 a week, for which they are able to choose ten items. Members save an average of £21 a week on groceries.
Earlier this summer, the Your Local Pantry network published its So Much More report. Researchers found that Pantry members reported improved physical and mental health, new friendships, strengthened community and reduced isolation, and Pantries are consistently serving as stepping stones to additional support. Nationally, Pantry members saved £4.75 million on shopping last year.
The team at Meadows Pantry hope to reach 50 members within the next few months. It is open from 10am to noon on Thursdays.