The pantry is to primarily tackle food poverty and offers nutritious food at heavily discounted prices to residents facing food hardship, away from a complete dependency on foodbanks.
Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Leader of Enfield Council, Cllr Mary Maguire, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement and Ian Davis, Chief Executive at Enfield Council cut the ribbon to declare the pantry open.
The pantry is part of the community hub at Edmonton Green Library and not only provides cheaper and subsidised food but promotes healthy eating by stocking food that is high in nutrition.
Edmonton Green is the first in a line of other pantries managed by the council that will be opened in the near future in the borough. It was primarily developed to address food poverty, as it offers a much more affordable alternative to the mainstream options offered by supermarkets and other food vendors.
A community food pantry is a social supermarket. Pantries differ from food banks because food is bought rather than given away, therefore they typically aim to help prevent people from reaching an emergency situation.
Users are referred via the Council’s Welfare and Debt Advisory Team, following an assessment of their needs. The focus is on how best to support the users using both council services, partners and voluntary and community sector organisations.
Pantry users will pay £4.50 a week and will be able to purchase the equivalent of approximately £20 worth of food.
The aim is also to identify needs such as debt crisis, homelessness, social isolation and family related issues.
There is a strong connection between poverty and obesity and other public health issues faced by residents living in poorer areas.
The pantry, which has been made possible with extensive support from the council’s Public Health department, also offers its users support such as access to welfare, debt management and employment and skills training.
The Edmonton area was chosen as the first community pantry location, after research revealed that residents living in the area are most in need of help and support.
Council staff will refer residents for time-limited membership following an assessment of their needs, so that a plan can be developed together and managed jointly until the resident is back on their feet.
Cllr Mary Maguire, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement at Enfield Council, said: “I am pleased that the first community pantry has opened its doors to residents in Edmonton, who are most in need of our help and support.
“The general ethos of a pantry is to give a hand up, not a handout, as we help those with the most complex needs in our local communities.
“By establishing dedicated community hubs located within libraries, we are enabling residents, particularly those with more complex needs, to access integrated support in one place.”
The community pantry will be open on Tuesdays from 1pm-3pm and Wednesdays from 10am-12noon and 1pm-3pm.
For further information on community pantries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.