New community pantries open to help feed vulnerable Hampshire families

Five new Community Pantries are opening in Hampshire with support from the connect4communities programme, led by Hampshire County Council. Each pantry will help families who are facing hardship to access food at reduced prices

Mar 24 2022

Community pantries work by offering access through membership and, for a small weekly contribution, members can select food and essential supplies to a significantly higher value. For example, for a charge of £5 members receive food worth £15.

Councillor Roz Chadd, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “Community pantries are a lifeline for many people. Being able to get groceries at a lower rate than can be found anywhere else means vulnerable families can access basics like food, which many of us take for granted. By providing this ‘helping hand’ approach community pantries can help people who find themselves in a difficult financial situation. Rising costs and economic uncertainty means many Hampshire families are struggling to cope, so this provision has never been more important.” 

As well as stocking a range of fresh, frozen and general foods, some pantries offer meal deals and recipe ideas designed to encourage healthy eating habits. Some also work with Citizens Advice and other charities to provide support on budgeting, wellbeing, adult learning and employment. 
The new Community Pantries

The connect4communities funding has ensured that there is at least one community pantry in each of the 11 districts in the Hampshire County Council local authority area - either by supporting an existing foodbank or community cupboard to change to the pantry model, or by establishing a new one. The 5 new pantries that have recently been set up brings the total number of community pantries available across Hampshire to 20.

The connect4communities programme is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and aims to support families and individuals struggling to pay for necessities like food and fuel. It is run in partnership with schools, colleges and Early Years providers, as well as voluntary and charity organisations.  
Information about where community pantries are currently located is published on the Family Information and Services Hub (FISH) directory. Anyone wishing to become a member should contact their local pantry directly. 

For more information about connect4communities and the community pantries project visit www.connect4communities.org