The innovative Y Pantri project and how they help feed the community

FareShare Cymru strives to repurpose surplus food, which would have otherwise been discarded, by channeling it towards charities capable of transforming an environmental challenge into a beneficial social initiative. These charities further distribute such food, achieved through innovative approaches such as kitchen schemes, collection points, and other resourceful methods, ensuring that the surplus is channeled efficiently to benefit the community. In particular, one of the projects supported by FareShare has offered a forward-thinking, innovative approach to food redistribution, offering so much more than food to those in need.

About Y Pantri

In 2023, Y Pantri was set up in Colwyn Bay, becoming Wales’s first ‘social supermarket’ service. It was set up in response to the ever-growing Cost-of-Living crisis, by St Giles Cymru. Furthermore, the aim of such an establishment is to allow members of the community to choose their own food, that is more suited to them and their families, rather than being allocated a selection of products, like that of a food bank. This is beneficial for consumers’ confidence and independence, allowing them to get back on their feet with a sense of control over their situation: a sense of stability in such unstable circumstances.

It currently is in support of over 75 people, with an aim to lift them out of poverty indefinitely. There are 121 trained experts who offer advice and referrals to those who use the service.

“I had a rough upbringing, my dad was a single parent and there was alcoholism in the family. We struggled with the cost of living even back then, and financially we were in a bad place. Donations from the church, or neighbours were well received, running the Pantri helps me to get people in a better place, and be able to move forward. Being in the position I am, as a parent, I understand the importance of being able to provide for your children, and the impact that has on your mental health if you can’t; taking this pressure away from families and helping the vulnerable is rewarding in itself, but it’s also important for my son to know his mum does good for the communities she was brought up in, and be a role model for him. I strive to make people’s lives better, and this opportunity to work in the Pantri is perfect for me to do this.”

Stacey Brady- Pantri Co-ordinator

How does the social supermarket work?

Y Pantri offers memberships to those who use the service, costing only £3.50 a week. This includes the choice of 10 items, colour-coded in terms of retail pricing. Members can attend the facility once a week and are offered a choice from a vast selection of goods, some of which have been provided by Fareshare Cymru. Y Pantri was established by St Giles Cymru, which allows the facility to go beyond food distribution, with the charity providing additional services like offering advice and support via Wales’s Peer Advice Network. Similarly, they work to support both people at risk of criminal exploitation and those who have been caught within the Criminal Justice system, offering support and aid in the rebuilding of their lives. Furthermore, a ‘wrap-around’ approach is taken regarding families, going beyond the surface-level issue of limited access to food for families and tackling other issues such as employment.

“FareShare and St Giles Cymru have a really good relationship. We reached out to them when we knew Y Pantri would be opening in the North Wales area and visited their warehouse in Speke. The staff and volunteers do an amazing job. We now have four deliveries a week, which is important to us as a Pantri to be able to deliver the goods to our clientele. Without the help of FareShare, we wouldn’t be able to fulfil the needs surrounding food poverty in the area. Some of the goods we received are expensive, and our local community wouldn’t be able to afford this, some foods they have never seen, or know what to do with. FareShare have opened opportunities for people to taste new and a different processes of cooking. They cater for vegan, vegetarian, glucose free etc, which is amazing.”

Stacey Brady- Pantri Co-ordinator

FareShare Cymru have made and continue to make a significant impact on projects like this. We continue to redistribute surplus to get results like these and help make a positive difference in people’s lives. If you would like to find out more about Y Pantri and get involved, here’s a link to their website.

Here is another link that will connect you to a piece created by ITV, which features both FareShare Cymru and the Y Pantri project.