Families in parts of Nuneaton struggling to make ends meet are being offered help to stave off hunger. An old St Johns Ambulance Mobile Clinic has been converted into mobile community pantry which hits the streets today.
It will be based in and around New Arley and Camp Hill and is aimed at helping families who are struggling to be able to pay for food due to the cost of living and energy price rises. According to the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD 2019) Camp Hill is the third most deprived area out of 339 in Warwickshire, and 80 per cent of households in the area of New Arley have low financial resilience.
This is why the two areas have been chosen to pilot the project, which is being run by Feed The Hungry in partnership with Warwickshire County Council. It will see the mobile pantry based in the two communities every week.
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Gavin Kibble MBE, regional operations director for Feed The Hungry, said: “For many families in rural and isolated communities, the choice of spending money on bus fares (if there is a bus service) or a taxi to be able to get to a foodbank or a supermarket, can have a massive impact on the amount available to spend on food.
“Simply providing a food hand-out does not resolve the causes of poverty, but community pantries are fundamentally about in-community support where all the local agencies work together to help those in need. This support will help people move beyond immediate food crises in ways that are dignified, empowering and community-led.”
The pantry will not only help provide instant access to food but also support from organisations including Citizen’s Advice Bureau (BRANCAB), Adult & Community Learning (ACL), and Warwickshire Community & Voluntary Action (WCAVA).
The model works on a small membership fee that will enable users to select nutritious food for themselves.
Warwickshire County Councillor Heather Timms, chair of the Warwickshire Food Forum, added: “This pilot project with Feed The Hungry will help to address the issue of food poverty in Warwickshire, in particular affordability and access and has been inspired by work carried out during the pandemic to help individuals and families, whose decisions can impact their lives in many ways.
“The pandemic led to Warwickshire County Council working with partners across the region to establish a Warwickshire Food Forum, and the Council will soon launch a Food Strategy for the county. Community pantries are just one element of this strategy.”
The mobile pantry will be based at St Michaels Community Centre, New Arley each week on Thursdays and St. Mary and St. John Church hall, Camp Hill on Fridays.