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Posted on 5th April 2023

Affordable Food Clubs Impact Report March 2023

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This data is from end of February 2023. The photo shows the Affordable Food Hub at Swindon Women’s Empowerment Programme.

Feeding Britain has worked with community organisations, charities and food networks to support the development of 275 affordable food clubs, encompassing pantries, larders, and social supermarkets. In the three months since our last report, we have worked with regional and local partners to open 49 new settings. This is the largest ever quarterly increase in the number of settings. This growth is due to many factors including rising demand, an increasing recognition of the benefits of these models and funding made available through Feeding Britain. These 275 settings make food and other essentials more affordable and accessible to their approximately 46,000 member households, helping people to stretch their budgets further while preventing at least some of the need for food banks. They also offer wrap-around support including expert advice to maximise incomes, cooking activities, Credit Union services and holiday programmes.

Staff and volunteers cautiously estimate that those households are collectively saving millions of pounds each year through the affordable food clubs. Management data collated by staff and volunteers suggest that, on average, households spend £5.44 each time they visit and take home food and other items worth approximately £22.56.

Pendle Food For All: “We are finding that a greater percentage of members are those in work but struggling to cope with low wages vs rising prices. Also, what started as a Food Club has now developed into a one-stop-shop providing advice and guidance from a growing number of partner agencies including Citizens Advice, fuel poverty, Green Doctors, debt advisors, new neighbours and Age UK. So we are not just feeding our members but nurturing them too.”

Case study: A member of one Food Club arrived in the UK in September on a student visa. She lives with her husband and three children in one room in a house of multiple occupation. Her husband works part-time as well as studying but this hardly covers the rent and travel costs. She was thrilled when she learnt of the Food Club. “It’s good for me, I have little money so this helps me and my family.” In addition, she has been introduced to the Family Hub where she can meet other parents, build friendships and feel part of a community.

Food Club Manager: “We have seen an increase in working individuals and families joining the Food Club. They are struggling to get food on the table given the rising costs of fuel, food and everything else. Even with spring around the corner, things aren’t going to be easy for lots of people.”

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