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Lifeline community fridge and pantry opens in Armley

By Fran Graham

A new way to save money on food, baby and household items has opened in Armley.

Armley Action Team has launched yum – a community fridge and pantry on Gelder Road, Armley (behind Town Street). The pantry is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2pm-4pm and Saturday 10am-12pm.

Any LS12 households are welcome to join the pantry, to get subsidised food once a week. The pantry, which is a kind of social supermarket, offers up to 15 items you choose for a £5 membership fee each time you visit.

AAT has teamed up with the Food Savers Network based in Bradford, a successful scheme that now supports 33 pantries in Bradford, and is expanding to support others in Leeds. Food Savers have helped Armley Action Team to set the pantry up, and are inviting others in Leeds to get in touch if they’d like to adopt the Food Savers model.

AAT has also partnered with Leeds City Credit Union, to enable people in Armley to save money on food, reduce food waste, and save money for a rainy day.

Members of yum can choose to save £1 of their £5 membership fee each time they visit the pantry in a Leeds City Credit Union account, which means that their pantry fee becomes £4, with £1 put into their own savings account.

Organisers believe the combination of affordable food and incentivised savings in a Credit Union will be helpful to many people this winter.

Mark Rollinson at Armley Action Team said: “If £1 of your pantry fee gets put aside every time you visit yum, it will soon build up, and be there for when you really need it. Food Savers has helped thousands of people have some savings through this model, and we’re really glad we can offer this in Armley. Anyone in LS12 who is feeling the pinch can join yum, save money and save food waste at the same time.”

The pantry also contains a community fridge, set up by members of Climate Action Armley and championed by local volunteers, Bethany Koryneck and Mark Rollinson. Anyone can bring food into the fridge that needs to be used up and anyone can take fridge food for free.

The idea is to stop fresh food going into the bin when it could be filling up someone’s dinner plate instead. Donations have been coming in since the fridge opened, including rhubarb grown on an Armley allotment, and dairy products from ARLA foods.

yum has received 100 new members in the first two weeks of opening the pantry, which organisers believe is a sign of the times. For more details follow yum – Community Fridge & Pantry on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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