St Helens’ very first mobile food pantry has launched in the borough this week giving residents even better access to vital provisions when they are needed.
The new mobile service, created with almost £125,000 of Government funding, was officially launched on Thursday (March 16th) at Park Farm Community Centre, Moss Bank and will travel across the borough every week, giving residents the opportunity to access food and other essential provisions.
The mobile food pantry will form part of the existing static pantry service network in the borough where residents can sign up as members for free which then allows you, for a small payment, to select up to ten items during each visit to the pantry.
The vehicle being used to deliver the new mobile service is a former police van that has been specially converted for the purpose. In addition the design and livery for the new look vehicle has been specially created by a local St Helens based design company, Masterpiece Creative Design.
Funding for the project has been made possible through the Government backed ‘Faith New Deal’ project which allows faith groups across the country to help the most vulnerable people in their local communities.
First launched in September 2021 as a pilot scheme by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), the initiative can provide grants of up to £200,000 as part of the post Covid-19 recovery plan.
Mission in the Economy (MitE) led the submission of the grant funding application for the St Helens Borough area, along with a consortium of partners, including Halton and St Helens Voluntary and Community Action (VCA), St Helens Council, St Helens Food Alliance and others.
This has subsequently enabled £124,850 to be invested into creating the new mobile food pantry facility. The mobile food pantry scheme was one of only 14 successful applications from across the country to be granted Government backing.
The new service is being co-ordinated by Halton & St Helens Voluntary and Community Action (VCA) with support from St Helens Borough Council and other local partners.
Once launched the new mobile pantry vehicle will each week visit Wargrave big local community hub(Mondays- 10:30-12:30) Sutton Children’s Centre (Tuesdays – 10am-12:30pm) and Park Farm Community Centre (Thursdays). The service will run from 10.30am-12:30pm at all sites. It is hoped additional sites will be added to the St Helens mobile pantry route in the near future.
Councillor Anthony Burns, St Helens Borough Council Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Communities and Culture said: “It is tremendous news that we have now been able to extend the existing food pantry service in the borough to include a mobile element which means that even the most vulnerable residents can benefit from the scheme, particularly those who may find it difficult to travel or leave their homes,
“The Network of Community Food Pantries has already been providing really vital support to people struggling in the current cost of living crisis, enabling them to buy food and other provision which they would otherwise have to do without.
“Now with the mobile food pantry we can make sure that even if you may struggle to get to the pantries, we can now get to you with this vital service.”
You can register for the both the mobile pantry by visiting : https://sthelensmobilepantry.org.uk
Other food pantries operating in the borough include the following:
– St Mathews Pantry – Thatto Heath Monday Evening (6:30 – 8pm) & Wednesday (8:45am – 11:30am)
– Hope Panty – Town Centre is Tuesday (11am – 1pm)
– St Lukes Pantry – Eccleston – Wednesday (3:30pm – 5:30pm)
– St Marks T.A,N.G.O – Haydock – Thursday (8:50am – 11am)
– Sutton Food Pantry – Sunday (1:30pm – 3:30pm)
The Network of Community Food Pantries is open to all residents and provides the opportunity to access affordable food. The Network also has a mission to reduce food waste and cut down on the amount of food going to landfill.
For more details on the community food pantry network visit: https://www.yourlocalpantry.co.uk/