Launched in 2015, Storehouse Pantry is an evolution of Storehouse Foodbank. It is a not-for-profit partnership project which gives struggling residents in target areas, access to food and other household essentials for a small affordable weekly subscription.
Goods are supplied largely through supermarket surplus and individual donations. Households access by application to become Pantry ‘Members’. Members can attend their neighbourhood Pantry on a weekly basis. Here they receive a warm welcome, good conversation, and a range of help and support. This includes selecting items from Pantry shelves which are restocked weekly.
Membership enrolment is based on foodbank and residency criteria and is periodically reviewed on a one-to-one basis to avoid dependency and to support Members in addressing all that is creating hardship for them.
How it Works
Before the pandemic struck, a local Pantry-style foodbank was in operation in two fixed locations. In addition we were commencing a mobile Pantry service at Kentmere on the Breightmet estate.
The Pantry model is about more than food. It has been a physical place where Pantry Members can receive a broad variety of services to help them address the barriers that are holding them back. Pantries are places where specialist workers can provide advice and guidance on debt and energy advice for example, or help with CV’s and finding work, help with making meals and support with rent arrears etc. Pantry Members were also able to select from a broad range of food items and other household essentials.
Storehouse Pantry has benefited from the generosity of schools, churches and numerous local businesses, organisations and individual people who donate food, both at harvest time and throughout the year. This is added to surplus food we collect from supermarkets, fast food restaurants and food-on-the-go outlets. We are very grateful to all those who continue to support our food distribution work.
Since the pandemic and lockdown, all our food distribution services including Storehouse Pantry, have been merged into a single new humanitarian Food Hub. More information on the Food Hub can be found here.
Over the course of this year there were 95 opening sessions on the Johnson Fold and New Bury estates, (slightly down from 101 in the previous year). An average of 81 Member/households were being supported by the year end, (slightly up from 77 in the previous year). 3,930 weekly ‘shopping’ visits were made (down from 4,691 in the previous year). The average household size remained static at 2.7. Adults were supported on 6,427 occasions, and children on 4,025 occasions.
These reductions were the result of a decision in February 2020 to temporarily close the Johnson Fold Pantry in order to review its impact and consider what changes might be made. By the end of March New Bury Pantry was also closed and Kentmere was put on hold as a consequence of the pandemic. All those in need who would normally have attended a Pantry and now supported through the new Food Hub.
The success of our project has been achieved through the tireless work of our and partner agency staff and volunteers from churches and others who have helped with food collections, deliveries, sorting, shelf stocking and serving Pantry Members. A recent survey of Pantry Member’s views found the overall service satisfaction to be 100% which was encouraging to know.
We have a vision to roll-out a choice-based Pantry-style service to reach every poverty hot-spot in Bolton. Since the pandemic we are in the process of reimagining how this might be best delivered. We are continuing our work with social housing providers, churches, other community-based organisations and Bolton Council to ensure no household or community is without an emergency life-line to essential food provision.
Please use our Contact Us page to start a conversation with us about this.