Feeding Britain is supporting a network of 348 affordable food clubs – encompassing pantries, larders, and social supermarkets – across its 87 regional and local partnerships. These settings make food and other essentials more affordable and accessible to their 75,000 member households, helping people to stretch their budgets further while preventing at least some of the need for food banks. They also offer wraparound support including expert advice to maximise incomes, resolve benefit-related issues, and manage debt, as well as cooking activities, Credit Union services and school 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 £6 each time they visit and take home food and other items worth approximately £23. Members tell us that the food clubs give them a sense of dignity and choice – where they can choose from a broad range of nutritious food to meet their cultural and dietary needs. These spaces often serve as community hubs, providing access to social opportunities, services and other activities alongside food.
Affordable Food Club Manager: “This has been one of the best things we have done for our community with food prices rising on a weekly basis.”
Member case study: One young mother has said using the community pantry has given her family a chance to try vegetables she wouldn’t normally buy… and also said that using the pantry in the colder months will mean she doesn’t have to choose between eating and heating.
Member case study: One new family has just joined the pantry with young children and a baby. They shared with us how much it has helped them budget and has taken a lot of worry and stress away. They are extremely grateful for this service.
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Photos: Heart of BS13’s Mobile Affordable Food Shop, Bristol and fruit and vegetables on display at the Healthy Me, Healthy Communities Community Grocer, Gorton.