Words: Emily Carlill
During the Covid pandemic this year and last, Kirkstall Valley Development Trust worked as a food hub, providing crisis and emergency food parcels to individuals and families in need.
As Covid restrictions eased and we started to emerge from the pandemic, KVDT wanted to still offer the Kirkstall community an affordable, sustainable and dignified option when accessing food support.
After researching and visiting other schemes we settled on the Food Pantries model of provision.
The summer months saw volunteers and staff work hard to organise and set up this new provision and, in September 2021, the Butcher Hill Community Food Pantry opened as a partnership between Horsforth Community Assets Project (HCAP) and Kirkstall Valley Development Trust (KVDT), supporting residents in Horsforth and Kirkstall wards.
Butcher Hill Community Food Pantry, based in St Andrew’s Church in Hawksworth, is now open for people to become members and use this service.
Members pay £1 to join the scheme then £3.50 each week and choose at least 10 items worth more than £15 retail value, reducing shopping bills by up to £600 a year.
At Butcher Hill Community Food Pantry, in addition to shopping for food at an affordable price, it is an opportunity to meet the friendly staff and volunteers, get involved in and find out about KVDT services, workshops and events, and also find out about other support services.
Natasha Hamlet, Communications and Community Engagement at KVDT, said:
“The Food Pantry not only supports people with food provision, our aim is to provide a service that can help build relationship, providing relevant support or signposting to others services that may be needed.
“We want to develop our service, workshops and events based on the needs of the people we meet; even after just a few weeks of being open and meeting our members we have organised an ‘access to employability’ course (also known as Flex course) for those who expressed and interest in this.
“We aim to develop a programme of workshops built around – and for – our members.”
Would you like to use this service? If you are interested in becoming a member, please download and return the Food Membership Application Form to the Food Pantry.
Opening Times. The Food Pantry is open Tuesday 10am to 12pm and Wednesday 1pm to 3pm. The project aism to open Wednesday 5pm to 7pm in the near future.