5 August 2019

Stockport Homes have spent the last five years building up the fantastic Your Local Pantry scheme - and they've seen it go from strength to strength.

Project Timeline

Stockport Homes opened the first Your Local Pantry in 2014. Since then a further three pantries have opened in Stockport with a fifth due to open later in the year.

Stockport Homes also operate a pantry franchise in partnership with Church Action on Poverty to support organisations across the country to open a pantry. The first franchise opened in 2019.

The project

The project saw a network of award winning community food stores set up to help reduce grocery costs for Stockport residents who are struggling financially.

Pantry members pay a weekly £3.50 subscription fee, which entitles them to choose a weekly shop of ten items from a selection including fresh fruit and vegetables, store cupboard items, frozen and chilled produce. There are currently four pantries located in priority deprived neighbourhoods across Stockport with a fifth due to open in October 2019.

The day to day running of each pantry is managed by a team of volunteers, who process deliveries, run the cash offices, organise stock and help members with their weekly shops. The success of this model is now being replicated nationwide, with a franchise model delivered in partnership with Church Action on Poverty.


The nature of food donations is changing whilst demands are increasing. As supermarkets move towards zero waste the nature of the supply to the pantries is changing with less fresh chilled meats and dairy available. This represents a challenge to maintaining the stock and supply to the pantries. To address this Your Local Pantry is working in partnership with local food retailers to collect donations and have secured funding to purchase a refrigerated van which will make it easier to collect and distribute stock.

Finding suitable, affordable premises has been a challenge. We have addressed this and kept costs to a minimum by utilising existing spaces within our community buildings and tower blocks.


Your Local Pantry is about much more than just food. It supports people financially, offers additional help and support, reduces social isolation and offers vital skills, training and work experience that can contribute to helping people to achieve their aspirations. A key factor in the Pantries’ success is the ethos of ‘a hand up rather than a hand out’, combined with its community-led approach, which empowers local people to support one another.

Over the last year there were 8,825 individual visits to a pantry offering potential savings for members of £650 per household, per year - this adds up to total savings across the membership of £97,075.

The pantries generated £62,828 of social value last year as a result of volunteering alone, with 10 new volunteers joining the project and a total of 4,439 hours of volunteer time being committed. Volunteers are supported through a comprehensive induction and training programme and 12 volunteers have moved into employment.

Over 25 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables were distributed last year with over 70 tonnes of food redistributed from the main supplier Fare Share through the pantry network.

If you did this again, what would you change?

The pantries continue to evolve and we are always learning as we go. We have learnt a lot since we launched our first pantry in 2014 and continue to learn and develop and evolve the model.

We have found it difficult to source a suitable refrigerated vehicle that meets our needs with the funds we have available. With the benefit of hindsight we would look to do a bigger funding bid for a new, environmentally friendly electric vehicle.

What can others learn from this example?

Building on the success of and levels of interest in the Pantries established across Stockport, Stockport Homes have worked with Church Action on Poverty to develop the Pantry model into a franchise to better enable us to share our learning and knowledge. This means that we can assist in developing more Pantries across the country and help more people. The franchise package has been developed over a number of years and incorporates a wide range of experience, knowledge, support and essential materials in how to set up and run a Pantry including a comprehensive handbook, pantry management software, procedures and templates, marketing materials and the Your Local Pantry website.

Further reading

Find out more at: https://www.yourlocalpantry.co.uk/

For more information contact Rebecca Sweeton on pantry@stockporthomes.org

Your Local Pantry