26 September 2022
- A third of people expect to turn to food charities amid rising food, energy and fuel bills.
- Co-op is announcing a major new partnership with Your Local Pantry supporting 32,000 households over the next three years
- Your Local Pantry members will save almost £5 million pounds on shopping bills - an average saving of up to £1,000 a year per Pantry member
- The partnership will see the number of Your Local Pantry sites triple to 225 across the UK, owing to the funding from Co-op Members
- Co-op’s partnership with Your Local Pantry adds to existing initiatives which provide dignified long-term solutions to food insecurity and the cost of living
Co-op has announced a major new partnership with Your Local Pantry which will help improve household finances, whilst bringing people together around food. The news follows new research from Co-op which reveals a third (33%)* of those impacted by the rising cost of living are turning to food charities more often.
The partnership, which is funded by Co-op Members**, will see the Your Local Pantry network triple within three years from 75 to 225 pantries across the UK, with the addition of 150 new pantries, creating almost 650,000 visits by July 2025. The partnership will focus on communities where additional food solutions will make a significant difference to the cost of living.
These pantries will support over 30,000 Your Local Pantry members who will save on average £15 per shop, with members often saving £1,000 or more a year or more on shopping bills. Overall, the new locations will help to save Your Local Pantry members up and down the UK an estimated £5 million when fully operational.
Pantries are open to all and work like any other grocery store, in that you choose the food you want from the shelves. The pantries are run by uniformed staff and volunteers who manage the stores with hand-held technology. Members pay a small subscription of a few pounds a week (ranging from £3.50 - £6.50 dependant on location), and in return can choose groceries worth many times more.
Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community & Membership at Co-op said: “Everybody should have access to good food, this innovative new partnership with Your Local Pantry complements our existing initiatives to provide dignified long-term solutions to food insecurity and the cost of living.
“Pantries are all about dignity, choice and hope. Each one operates as a member-led neighbourhood hub, often serving as a springboard to other community initiatives, opportunities and ideas.
“Things are tough for many of us at the moment and we are proud that pantries will be there to support people and their local communities in dealing with the challenges that are thrown at them, it feels like a real step in the right direction to make the world that little bit fairer.”
James Henderson, Your Local Pantry Network Development Coordinator, added: “Pantries have enabled tens of thousands of people around the UK to strengthen their community and loosen the grip of high prices. Pantries reduce isolation, foster community and friendships, improve health and pre-empt poverty, and this exciting new partnership with Co-op will enable thousands more people to join and enjoy Pantries.”
As part of its mission to ensure communities have better access to food, Co-op has a range of initiatives designed to support people in communities, its members and colleagues in working together to move away from reliance on food aid and towards sustainable community solutions, building resilience, skills and life opportunities.
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All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2108 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th - 28th June 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
When Co-op Members buy selected Co-op branded products and services, we give 2p for every pound spent to local communities. This is split between the Local Community Fund and the Community Partnerships Fund. The Community Partnerships Fund supports the needs of communities and groups who need it most by partnering with likeminded organisations to make a difference. The Community Partnership Fund also supports some of the Co-op’s community initiatives such as Member Pioneers, the Co-operate platform and Co-op Academies. Funding is distributed through a quarterly panel made up of representatives from Co-op’s Members Council, Young Members Group, and Co-op Leaders.
About Co-op Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates over 2,500 food stores, over 800 funeral homes and provides products to over 5000 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited. Employing almost 60,000 people, the Co-op has an annual turnover of over £11billion and is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes. The Co-op exists to meet members’ needs and stand up for the things they believe in.
About Your Local Pantry Your Local Pantries are improving the everyday lives of over 90,000+ people in over 80 neighbourhoods across the UK. Pantries soften the blow of high living costs and create the conditions for communities to grow and thrive, by bringing people together around food. Pantries are strengthening communities, fostering friendships, loosening the grip of poverty and contributing to healthier, happier lives. Pantries operate as membership food clubs and neighbourhood hubs, often serving as springboards to other community initiatives, opportunities and ideas.