Tue. May 17th, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

New community pantry scheme

2 min read

Set of uncooked foods on pantry shelf prepared for disaster emergency conditions on brick wall background

Islanders struggling against rising costs will soon be able to join a new food pantry scheme.

Items found in the pantry will be a range of fresh, frozen, tinned and dry food. Access to the community pantry is by way of membership.

The Isle of Wight Council is spearheading the scheme through its connect4communities programme. Councillor Debbie Andre, cabinet lead for childrens’ services, said: “This is a fantastic initiative that has the potential to have a real impact at the heart of our communities where low income families are struggling financially. For a contribution of around £5 per weekly visit, a member will receive over £15 worth of fresh, frozen and general food.

“Anyone can have access to their local community pantry but they will need to sign up to become a member, directly with the pantry. At some point, we want to be able to offer additional activities and provide wraparound services and social interaction for those using the pantries.”

The first three pantries will be located at Oakfield Primary School in Ryde, Community Spirited in East Cowes, and Baby Box in Ventnor.

Jane Allchorn, Manager of Community Spirited Cafe, said: “As a community group, we have distributed food donated by the Co-op for the past three years. This is on a small scale and we have many people visiting, telling us that they are struggling with the rising cost of living. After talking to the connect4communities project manager about funding streams, I knew that a community pantry is what we needed to open to help our East Cowes community.

“We will be ready towards the end of April. This will be user led and we will be guided by our members as to the food they would like to choose. This pantry has given a gentleman the opportunity to be employed by us, supported by a team of volunteers.”

If you are an organisation interested in opening a community pantry on the Island, please contact Laura Hales, connect4communities Project Manager by email: connect4communities@iow.gov.uk or call 821000.

Further details and an application form can be found at bit.ly/IWOPantries.