Funding agreed to help continue food pantries in Derbyshire

Published on: Thursday, 23rd February 2023
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Derbyshire County Council is providing additional funding to help food pantries across the county to continue offering support to their local communities.

The council is to provide Rural Action Derbyshire (RAD) with £150,000 to ensure that the Affordable Food Network initiative can continue to run until March 2024.

Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Communities’, Councillor Carol Hart said: “We have previously approved £300,000 to Rural Action Derbyshire to help create a sustainable alternative to food banks.

“This saw the Affordable Food Network initiative set up. This project focuses on building networks of community pantries that give people access to good quality, affordable and nutritious food.

“This additional pot of funding will allow this important project to continue while we look at the long term future of this work.”

There are seven established food pantries in North and North East Derbyshire, the Dales and, closer to Erewash, the Amber Valley, but with an additional five in development.

Cllr Hart added: “Food banks are available across Derbyshire - however they are usually classed as an emergency provision and not designed to be used long-term. However food pantries offer a service that differs from food banks.

“They help to strengthen communities as well as improve families health and wellbeing.

“They also help improve household finances which allows families to meet other essential costs, support a healthy diet, tackle food waste and nurture a sense of dignity.”

The Affordable Food Network has seen positive local outcomes including:

  • Reduced reliance and dependency on emergency food banks
  • Improved self-esteem and mental wellbeing for households who can access affordable food without relying on a foodbank
  • Improved self-reliance and community resilience by supporting households to help their budgets go further and reduce the risk of falling into debt and crisis
  • Increased opportunities to provide community pantry customers with additional services which may include financial advice and/or healthy eating on a budget skills.

Food pantry memberships models vary but generally involve paying a small yearly membership fee plus a suggested donation towards the cost of the food each time you visit the pantry – resulting in, on average, a saving of £37 per shop.

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