Govanhill Baths Community Trust raises £3,500 for People’s Pantry

Govanhill Baths Community Trust has raised £3,500 for a new alternative to foodbanks - a project called the People’s Pantry.

According to the trust’s manager Fatima Uygun, the new shop to be opened on Cathcart Road will be a ‘viable alternative’ to foodbanks.

She said: “There is an enormous amount of food poverty in Govanhill, much of which is hidden. Whether it be people who have been victims of welfare reform or working families who are on minimum wage and struggling to feed the family, many rely on foodbanks which aren’t always easy to approach.

“You can’t just walk up to most foodbanks and get food. The People’s Pantry is an approach to food poverty that will be more dignified for many.”

The People’s Pantry will offer £15 worth of food for around £2, with many of the items on offer being those which would otherwise see the landfill.

Ms Uygun added: “With the People’s Pantry, we want it to feel like a real shopping experience, not like a traditional foodbank in the way that you are given a box for the week and often can’t choose what items go into it.

“We will have items on the shelf, with things like vegetables and fruit that would’ve otherwise been thrown to the landfill and into cleansing trucks.

“The food will be safe to eat but thrown away by larger shops because it would be about to go our of date - it means that people can shop daily for dinner that night, rather than buying in bulk and in turn creating more food waste.

“You have people who only need one or two items but have to buy a pack of eight or nine - the People’s Pantry will allow them to do that.”

The People’s Pantry will launch in June.

Ms Uygun continued: “Cathcart Road is a neglected area of Govanhill. All of the emphasis is on Victoria Road and on that side of the community, but Cathcart Road is nearer to where most people from Govanhill actually live.

“On that side of the community, there is no easy access to food - you would have to travel down to Victoria Road or Lidl, which isn’t always possible for people.”

The food will also be colour coded, to help shoppers identify what items they’d be getting the best value from, Glasgow Times reports. 

Ms Uygun said: “We will have green items which means you can buy more of them for you £15, going through from amber to red. It not only helps people to know the value what they’re buying, but makes them aware of healthy eating.”

The shop will be open to anyone until March, when a membership scheme will kick in.

The membership, which will be available to those within a one-mile radius, will cost around £2.50 per year, and will allow members to use the shop as normal.

Ms Uygun concluded: “We really want this to become a project that is owned by the community - a grassroots, holistic approach to donating. Every paying member will effectively become a cooperative member, it really gives the sense of working together.”

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