A new store aimed at strengthening the community and reducing shopping bills has opened in Nottingham.
Meadows Pantry has opened in Bridgeway Hall Methodist Mission in Arkwright Walk.
There are just over 100 venues in the Your Local Pantry network, but this is first in Nottingham or Nottinghamshire.
Pantries help to strengthen the 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.
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 locally and local people are really pleased.”
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 are sustainable, long-term, community-led solutions that can loosen the grip of food poverty in a particular neighbourhood. Pantries have various food sources, such as supermarket surplus via food recycling charity Fareshare, and by developing relationships with local food businesses.
Church Action on Poverty supports the roll-out of pantries across the UK, and is working with the Co-op to support the opening of another 125 new Pantries across the UK by the end of 2025.
Meadows Pantry is open to people living in The Meadows area of Nottingham, and has been supported through funding from the Benefact Trust and National Lottery. Anyone interested in joining should visit the Pantry on a Thursday morning, or email email@example.com