St Giles Trust, in partnership with Adferiad and CAIS Social Enterprises, launched a new social supermarket in Colwyn Bay today, 20 July, to help people who are struggling to provide for themselves and their families.
Established as a Social Enterprise, Y Pantri (The Pantry,) will redistribute food, consisting of high-quality products that have been supplied by Fareshare. Fareshare is the UK’s national network of charitable food re-distributors, made up of 18 independent organisations, taking good quality surplus food from right across the food industry and supplying frontline charities and community groups.
Aimed at helping people who are struggling with the increased cost of living or with a much lower level of disposable income, Y Pantri, which is based at the site of the former Porters Coffee Shop & Bistro on Station Road, will be a social supermarket with a difference.
Participants will be referred to the service and then ‘subscribe’ for a very low fee (£3.50 per week), which would allow for one scheduled visit per week to shop for produce – such as meat, cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as receiving specialist and confidential 1-2-1 advice and guidance on any number of issues that could be affecting them or their families. The advice and guidance will be given by trained staff and volunteers, many of whom have had experience of the issues those using Y Pantri are facing.
Alun Thomas, Adferiad’s Chief Executive, said: “Adferiad is delighted to be partnering with St Giles Trust Cymru on this innovative and much needed service. We work together on a number of initiatives and welcome our St Giles Trust Cymru colleagues to Station Court in Colwyn Bay.
“Y Pantri offers a way that people who are experiencing the difficulties associated with the rising cost of living can take control of this area of their spending in relation to healthy and nutritious food at a reasonable cost. This is so very aligned with our campaign this year Time to Take Control, helping people with practical advice, information, and assistance to navigate through the cost-of-living crisis.”
Tracey Burley, St Giles Trust CEO added: “With great pride, we open our new Pantri in Wales, addressing the unique challenges faced by our local community. This Pantri is a beacon of hope, combatting food insecurity by providing tailored support and resources to help people turn their past into a future. By partnering with local organisations, we aim to meet the distinct needs of the local community in a coastal area. Together, we aim to significantly reduce food poverty, empower individuals, and build a stronger, more inclusive Wales.”
In addition to offering good quality, discounted food, a member of staff from the Cyfle Cymru out of work service will be available to engage and work with participants using the scheme.
Marian Williams, Associate Director and Project Lead for Cyfle Cymru, said: “The out of work service, Cyfle Cymru, is delighted to be working closely with colleagues from Y Pantri to offer additional support to those held back by poverty, addiction, mental health issues and other complex needs.
“Cyfle Cymru helps people affected by substance misuse and/or mental health conditions to develop confidence and provides support for individuals to access training, qualifications and work experience/volunteering. The project’s committed team of Peer Mentors often draw on their lived experience of recovery from substance misuse and mental health problems, to help support others into work.
“We hope that together we can help tackle poverty, ensure equal opportunity for all, raise skills, get more people into work, and improve the lives of people and our communities.”
Conwy councillor, Chris Hughes, said: “As a local councillor I see at first hand through my casework and the residents I meet on a daily basis, the impact 10 years of austerity has had on our community, and I understand the poverty and desperation suffered by many local families.
“In an era when no one should have to rely on food banks to feed their families we face the harsh reality that many have to do just that.
“The partnership between Adferiad, CAIS Social Enterprises and St Giles is one I welcome, I know how much it is needed in the local area, I wish Y Pantri all the very best for the future.”
Y Pantri will be managed on a day-to-day basis by St Giles, who already run several successful Pantry schemes in England, this will be their first food pantry in Wales. Y Pantri offers a sustainable model to not only decrease food insecurity, but to empower communities out of food poverty for good.
The social supermarket will employ two part-time members of staff and will be open 4 days a week initially. Y Pantri is funded by the Welsh Government’s Landfill Disposal Tax Scheme, (administered by the WCVA.)