A SOCIAL supermarket which was set up during lockdown has been nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award.

Worsbrough Community Pantry opened in November 2020 with the aim of helping people before they get to crisis point.

Funded by the Ward Alliance and run by volunteers at Worsbrough Community Church, Worsbrough residents pay a £3 weekly membership fee and get access to a wide range of food items and can take away items up to the value of £15.

The project was nominated by Worsbrough councillor Jake Lodge in the Exceptional Achievement category, he said: “The Worsbrough Community Pantry have been operating for close to two years and in that time, they have supported hundreds of families and individuals across the community to access low cost and good quality food.

The Pantry is led by volunteers and operates as a social supermarket, offering a hand up to residents in the community.

“The Pantry is self-sustaining, and all monies are further invested to improve the quality and variety of the foods available, so that families and individuals utilising the Pantry can have the choice.

“In addition to its core offer of low-cost quality food, it is also a place for people to drop in for a coffee and a chat, helping to reduce loneliness and isolation, as well as signposting individuals to support that they might need.

“This initiative has community at its heart and is built on foundations of love and care, which is seen in its truest form in the volunteers that run the Pantry. They deserve every accolade possible for what they have done!”

Tracey Hamby, a pantry trustee and member of the church, said: “We as a church wanted to do something to reach into the community and were originally thinking of a food bank, but after reaching out to the other churches in the area, we took it to the Ward Alliance and it developed into the Community Pantry idea.

“With a food bank, we might only see people two or three times a year when they are struggling. This way, people can come every week, they can choose exactly what food they want, have a cup of coffee and a chat and we see friendships building and we can offer other things including signposting them to services they need.

“We have a good team of volunteers including pantry trustee Linda Ashton and we have had a lot of help from the community development officer Michelle Toone. We are adding to what we offer every month.”

The Community Pantry is open every Wednesday between 11.30am and 1.30pm at Worsbrough Community Church, High Street, Worsbrough.

To be eligible to sign up you must live in the Worsbrough Ward AND be in receipt of a benefit OR had recent change to financial circumstances.