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Speaking Truth to Power in Pantries

As we launch our new 'Speaking Truth to Power' programme, programme coordinator Anna Hamill reflects on her fist visits to some of our partners.

Speaking Truth to Power

The Speaking Truth to Power programme is being piloted in Liverpool and Peckham. Felicity (our Pantries and Self-Reliant Groups Development Facilitator) and I have been out and about, visiting some of the Your Local Pantry partners that will be involved.

Liverpool

We started our visits during Challenge Poverty Week England & Wales, visiting two Pantries in Liverpool with our local host, Lee from St. Andrews Community Network. First stop was St. George’s Pantry where we met with Naomi from Feeding Liverpool who showed us around the beautiful church which hosts the pantry. There was a great buzz about the place, with plenty of space for people to sit, chat and enjoy a cup of tea. One of the brilliant volunteers even let me be a personal shopper for a member, which tested my memory skills! It was great to sit down and chat with Naomi and Lee, and get planning the next steps for the Speaking Truth to Power project and how it will look in Liverpool. 

Lee took us to Vauxhall Pantry next, which was a hive of activity! It was a pleasure to meet the Pantry coordinator, Pauline who shared the wide range of activities that are on offer to Pantry members at the amazing Vauxhall Neighbourhood Council. A lot of what was being run was due to local people seeing a need and getting stuck in. Pauline talked us through some of the issues members of the Pantry are facing and it was really clear how much the volunteers and members enjoyed coming together. 

These two Pantries showed us there is such a vibrant and engaged community in Liverpool, and everyone’s enthusiasm shone through!

Lee and Naomi during Challenge Poverty Week at St. George’s Pantry, Everton, Liverpool

London

After an early start, Felicity and I headed to London partners Pecan, in Peckham. It was the first time I had met Chris, Sharon & Flora in person, and we were able to have a really productive chat about starting the Speaking Truth to Power project through their pantry members. We also went to the Peckham Pantry, and met Pantry manager Temi. Her passion and knowledge were fantastic and she fostered a strong sense of unity at the Pantry from the volunteers. What struck me was how different and varied the Pantries can be, but they are all tied together by the fantastic workers, volunteers and members.

Felicity, Temi and Anna outside Peckham Pantry

On our second day in London, we visited Kingston Pantry based in Tolworth Rec Centre to put in time as a volunteer. We were met by Pantry manager Susan, and three volunteers, who were friendly and welcoming. Felicity took on the role of personal shopper and I welcomed members, offering them a hot drink and a piece of homemade flapjack. It was hard to believe this pantry had only been open eight weeks when we visited as everything ran so smoothly! It was great to get a better understanding of being a Pantry volunteer, and it was really clear how much the members valued going to the Pantry. Susan knew everyone by name, and all members came away with their shopping bags overflowing! Felicity and I spoke to the volunteers about the Speaking Truth to Power project and they shared how valuable having a space to campaign would be for members. 

Felicity and Anna with Susan and the volunteers at Kingston Pantry

After these fantastic Pantry visits, it really feels like the Speaking Truth to Power programme is beginning to take off! Going to visit the Pantries has just made me more excited for this project, but now I can continue with a better understanding of what the Pantries mean to their communities.

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