A key priority for Feeding Britain is to establish and develop Affordable Food Clubs (as well as broader Affordable Food Networks) which improve people’s access to affordable nutritious food and specialist support on a year-round basis.
Affordable Food Clubs range from social supermarkets and pantries, to food buses and larders, at the heart of communities where people live and work. Each setting offers nutritious food and other essentials for a fraction of their retail value. In doing so, they enable people on low incomes to stretch their budgets further each week – helping to prevent financial crises which bring the need for food banks into play, and to provide stepping stones away from such crises.
Alongside food, Affordable Food Clubs aim to provide specialist support – including benefits and debt advice, as well as credit and savings facilities – to address the wider issues that members may be facing. They aim also to offer social activities such as communal growing, cooked meals, and holiday clubs for children and families.
To date, Feeding Britain has established, developed, and supported 150 Affordable Food Clubs with our regional partners. We cautiously estimate that they are saving approximately 20,000 households hundreds of thousands of pounds each month on their shopping. They offer a sustainable and dignified model of community food provision, while building resilience and preventing at least some of the need for food banks.
Here are some quotes from members of Affordable Food Clubs in the Feeding Britain network:
- “The pantry helps me a lot because I am a single mum, and I am not working due to health issues. I ended up with no money at the end of the month because I spent lots on food shopping for me and my daughter. I can purchase 20 items from the pantry for only £5 and I used to spend £40 a week before … I can save some money for emergencies. Thank you!”
- “The pantry has been an absolute lifesaver for us this year and the extra support that is offered during holidays is very gratefully received by us, during what has been an extremely long and difficult time for our family.”
- “The pantry helps my family to have good food to eat at an affordable price. Finances are short but we will always be able to eat healthily now.”
See our latest Affordable Food Clubs data here.
Feeding Britain is here to support any new or existing Affordable Food Clubs. We have additional materials available including guides on food suppliers and mobile affordable food models. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
How are Affordable Food Networks different from food banks?
While food banks have played an important role in addressing an urgent need for emergency food, the objective of Feeding Britain has always been to find ways to prevent emergency needs arising and bring about more sustainable solutions. Affordable Food Networks offer a unique approach which helps people either avoid or move beyond an immediate crisis, in a way that recognises their dignity and agency. People pay a fee for their shopping, albeit at much reduced prices through their membership, and are able to choose the products they need from a wider selection of fresh, chilled/frozen, and ambient goods. Alongside affordable food, they are able to access support services in a welcoming environment and can build relationships with local organisations that provide specialist help.
Photo credit: Feeding Liverpool – Pantry Network – Church Urban Fund (CUF)/Together Liverpool