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'Local pantry' social franchise launched

A local pantry can help people across the UK access affordable food - and reduce the need for foodbanks

Local PantryOrganisations across the UK can now get tools and support to set up a 'Local Pantry' community food store, after the charity Church Action on Poverty (CAP) and its partners launched Your Local Pantry as a social franchise.

Your Local Pantry is a volunteer-led community initiative that helps struggling families make their money go further by reducing food shopping bills (members can save over £500 each year); providing advice and support; and developing skills through volunteering and other opportunities within the project.

For just £2.50 per week, members from the local community can do a shop and choose at least 10 grocery items, including free vegetables. Pantries are run for the community, by the community, aimed at helping to stretch budgets further and bring people together.

They differ from foodbanks in a number of ways, CAP spokesman Liam Purcell told The Baptist Times

'Foodbanks provide a vital service to people in crisis,' he said. 'Pantries are designed to help people avoid falling into that crisis in the first place – and they have other benefits too.

'Unlike most foodbanks, a Pantry is a co-operative: members can join without having to be referred by others; they pay in to the club; and they can remain members for as long as they like.

'There’s a dignity in paying, rather than being given to. The food offer is better in terms of quality, variety and freshness – and the transformation in what members are able to eat on a regular basis is huge.

'You have choice, within constraints. It’s not a normal shop, but it is close to a normal shop.'

The launch was attended by more than 50 housing professionals, voluntary and community sector organisations and academic researchers, and hosted by Kellogg’s, who actively support Pantries, and FareShare, a national food redistribution charity.

The Pantry social franchise has been developed by Church Action on Poverty in partnership with Stockport Homes and FareShare Greater Manchester, with support from The Bread and Butter Thing, a charity focused on making life more affordable for people in low-income households, and The Shaftesbury Partnership, an organisation providing consultancy support on social franchising and replication to help other social ventures to grow.

It will provide organisations and groups across the UK with all they need to set up a Pantry in their local community.

Local pantry customer

Anna Jones, Food Sharing Officer at Stockport Homes, which originally created the initiative, said, 'Our Pantries have been supporting Stockport communities since 2013, saving thousands for members and helping to reduce social isolation and financial insecurity.

'We are thrilled that by launching this franchise we are able to share our learning to benefit even more communities across the whole country.'

Dave Nicholson, Business Development Officer at Church Action on Poverty, said, 'This social franchise offer applies the principles of commercial franchising to scaling the social impact of Pantries - helping people on low incomes across the country to help themselves out of food poverty.'


For more information, visit www.yourlocalpantry.co.uk

Related: Are pantry schemes the new food banks? (Guardian)



Baptist Times, 20/12/2017
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