Rural Action Derbyshire coordinates the Feeding Derbyshire Network and the funding will enable them to carry on this work.
The network has run since 2015 and offers help to people struggling with low incomes, debt and poor access to affordable, nutritious food.
As part of this, the Affordable Food Network was set up in 2020.
This aims to provide a longer term, more sustainable alternative to food banks with the creation of community pantries.
These differ from food banks as people pay a small yearly membership fee and also pay a small contribution toward the cost of the food they choose during their weekly visit to the shop.
The community pantry model has been piloted over the last 2 years and so far 8 pantries have opened in community venues and on the high street using empty properties. Another 2 are currently in development.
Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carol Hart said:
“Having access to healthy food is vital for people’s health, wellbeing and dignity and we are delighted to be able to fund Rural Action Derbyshire to carry out this work.”
Since 2018 Public Health has supported Feeding Derbyshire by grant funding Rural Action Derbyshire to co-ordinate the programme.
Following consultation, this grant funding is moving to a commissioned service from April 2024.
The 2-year contract will start in April 2024 with an option to extend it for a further 3 years.
Beverley Parker, Chief Executive of Rural Action Derbyshire, said:
“Rural Action Derbyshire is extremely proud to be given the opportunity to lead Feeding Derbyshire for another 5 years.
This will give crucial stability and sustainability to a sector that has faced so many recent challenges. Foodbanks and affordable food providers have had to navigate their way through COVID and a cost-of-living crisis and we have supported them every step of the way and celebrated their resilience.
“We would like to thank the county council for recognising the work we have already achieved with Feeding Derbyshire and enabling this to continue.”
The expected outcomes of the new service include:
- a co-ordinated programme of interventions (that are part of the Feeding Derbyshire Network) that support communities through the redistribution of surplus food
- full coverage of affordable food pantries across all areas of Derbyshire to meet the needs of Derbyshire residents.
- increased access to affordable and healthy food for children/families on low incomes and vulnerable adults.
- reduced dependency on food banks for people receiving support from food projects
- reduced food supply issues across the food network
- increased financial and digital skills and resilience, in people receiving support from food projects
- increased confidence to make better choices around healthy eating for people receiving support from food projects
- increased confidence and skills to equip food projects to raise their own funds
- increase in food projects raising their own funds
- increase in food projects being fully supported and sustainable without reliance on grant aid within 2 years