Pudsey: Community pantry opens as cost of living crisis deepens

By Shanai Dunglinson

Pudsey Community Project is opening a new community pantry to support those who may be struggling to manage the rising cost of living.

Located on Fartown in Pudsey, the pantry will open tomorrow (Wednesday, June 8). Local residents can use the pantry on Wednesday evenings from 6-8 p.m. and Friday evenings from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Pudsey Community Project (PCP) is a local charity that stepped up during the Covid-19 lockdown by providing an emergency food bank in Pudsey.

Since opening their food bank, PCP has helped the community in many other ways, including a Reduce-Reuse Children’s Clothing Swap, Seniors Dining Club, and now the new Community Food Pantry.

The pantry itself requires a membership fee of £3.50, which entitles the member to food, worth around £20, saving members £800 a year.

Pudsey Community Project’s new director, Naomi Hill.

Naomi Hill, PCP’s project manager, said the food pantry creates a longer-term option than a food bank for residents who are struggling but not yet in crisis. Talk to WLDshe says:

“Every call I get right now is from people struggling with the cost of living, so it’s food and fuel. Saving money on food is a good thing, so they can then invest it in something else they also need, like increasing energy costs.

These savings are becoming increasingly important for low-income families in the UK and West Yorkshire, with more than 2.1 million food parcels delivered by leading food bank operator Trussell Trust last year. Naomi added:

“We’ve had a lot of interest in the pantry so far, and we haven’t started it yet. But we’re saying anyone struggling with the cost of living can apply, as long as they’re found in our area – which really could be just about anyone right now.

“It’s about choice and dignity, people can come in and choose their food and pay a small amount and get more value. There is often not a lot of support available for people who are already receiving benefits and the things they are entitled to.

Not only does PCP help the local community, it also helps the environment. The majority of foods featured in the Weekly Food Bank and Upcoming Pantry are provided by FareShare and Rethink Food.

christian community fartown pudsey
The project is based in the old Fartown Christian Fellowship building. Photo: Pudsey Community Project

Both organizations are determined to stop food waste. They do this by intercepting food products that would be wasted by supermarket chains because their best before date is expiring soon or something as tedious as a misprint.

Naomi said:

“These are fresh products that are approaching their expiration date, if the outer packaging is torn or something like that, they can’t sell them or they don’t because they’re not worth the shelf space. because they have to reduce the cost so much. So they’re going to give it to us. These are things that would be wasted, but this is perfectly good food.

In addition to the environmentally friendly food supply, the children’s clothing exchange group Reduce-Reuce also applies a similar approach. Naomi explains: “The kids are coping so quickly that we just encourage people to reuse things, and again we save them money but we stop clothes going to landfill.

The PCP has around 30 dedicated volunteers who work on the organization’s various projects, with Naomi highlighting the public response: “We put out a request for food pantry volunteers on Facebook and got a really good response. It’s great that this is a community project run by and from the community.

For more information, contact Pudsey Community Project at 07553 504540 or email: [email protected].

Thu 27 Feb 2020, 10:00 a.m. to John, me

Norma P. Rex