Wigan community group starts new food pantry

Mutual aid group Springfield and Beech Hill Community has launched Scouting For Food, which involves people signing up as members and then being able to get groceries for a set price.

Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 7:00 am
Gill Wright, Angela Fell, Megan Harris and Aileen Woodhouse at the pantry

Located in the Scout hut on Delph Street, the pantry opens on Monday afternoons and anyone who has paid the annual £5 fee can then get 20 items for £3.

The mutual aid group has teamed up with Fur Clemt, which prevents edible food from going in landfill, to stock the shelves at Scouting For Food.

It has also entered into a partnership with the Scout hut for the weekly use of the building.

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Angela Fell with some of the food items

The new project is one of a number of food pantries which have opened in the borough in recent times and Springfield and Beech Hill Community says it prefers the model to that of a foodbank.

Gill Wright from the mutual aid group said: “During lockdown we did a couple of activities finding out what people were interested in and what skills they had.

“Food came up, especially as there have been quite a few redundancies locally. We decided we would rather have a pantry than a foodbank.

“The first week was brilliant, we had 21 members through the door and the nicest thing was that people were coming in and paying up front for other people’s memberships in case they couldn’t afford it.

“We’re just doing it one afternoon a week at the moment. We don’t want to over-reach as it is volunteers running it. We could possibly run another day but we’re starting slow.”

The pantry contains items such as vegetables, potatoes, salad, bread and pasta, tinned items including soups and canned veg and a table of goodies.

The idea of the group is to boost community resilience so people are able to run services local people need or want themselves, rather than looking to outside organisations.

It is also creating a community garden next to St Anne’s Church in Beech Hill and recently had a large bulb-planting session, with the flowers that will come up serving to remember those lost to Covid-19 and as symbols of hope for the future beyond the pandemic.

A neighbourhood support fund has also been created, with residents paying into a pot which people needing a bit of financial help can draw an amount from.

Gill said: “This money is for people if they have a bill they weren’t expecting or are short for Christmas presents.

“Quite a few people in the community have lost their jobs.

“We thought this was a better way of helping them than charity. It gives people a bit of dignity.”

For more information about the group follow it on Twitter @SFBHCommUnity

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