Epsom Pantry is a member-led community hub and food shop opened by Good Company (Surrey). Opened to create a network of support and a much-needed source of affordable grocery shopping within our community. The Pantry is a means of strengthening people’s financial and emotional resilience while also helping to reduce the dependency on food banks. The cost-of-living crisis means more and more households are struggling to make ends meet. The Pantry offers vital financial savings, access to healthy nutritious food and the opportunity to be part of a growing community of support during a time when it is most needed.
Image: Volunteers Faye and David in the Pantry
Since officially opening back in July they now have 170 members, supporting a total of 299 adults and 258 children. The Pantry membership has grown very quickly, far exceeding its aim of reaching 100 members in a year!
Bex Loomes, Epsom Pantry Manager said “With growing numbers comes a great sense of community. As soon as the shop opens there is a buzz and a lovely atmosphere. We have seen long lost friends reunited, shoppers sharing new recipe ideas, and people sitting down to chat with new friends, in a space they feel is their own. If you are in Epsom Monday to Friday, do pop in and say hello. We are open for limited hours but there is often someone in the shop ready to show you around.”
Epsom Pantry works through a membership system. Anyone can apply online to become a part of Epsom Pantry or be directly referred to the Pantry by Epsom & Ewell Foodbank. The Pantry offers an alternative food-aid that is available to anyone we see at our food banks centres. They also help people before they are in that crisis situation.
For £5 members get to choose 10 items from the shelves. Each week this includes meat, dairy, fridge, and freezer items, as well as all the store cupboard basics and toiletries. Fruit, vegetables, eggs, and bread are all given out for free! Our members are taking home over £30 worth of food shopping for just £5, meaning they are saving an average of £1,000 a year on shopping bills.
When not open for shopping, they are running community activities. So far these have included free children’s cooking classes with Jayne from Grow, Cook, Enjoy; energy advice consultations and top ups with Dave from Surrey Community Action; and adult low-cost, low-energy cooking classes with Chef Renu.
Newest staff team member Jane (Pantry Co-ordinator) will be heading up these community activities going forward, engaging with local agencies, and involving the wider Epsom community in what Epsom Pantry do here.
24 South Street