Monday, 15 April 2024
Monday, 15 April 2024

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee visits Everton in the Community

MPs from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee of the House of Commons visited Everton in the Community recently to see first-hand the impact of the charity’s food pantry.

As part of a wider trip to understand the work of food aid organisations across the city, six cross-party MPs spent time at the Blue Base Pantry to learn more about the initiative and the additional wrap-around services offered by Everton in the Community.

The EFRA Select Committee’s visit forms part of its ongoing Food Insecurity inquiry, which has taken evidence from organisations including FareShare, the Food Foundation, and the Independent Food Network.

Sir Robert Goodwill MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said:

“I enjoyed visiting the Blue Base Pantry. It’s different from a traditional food bank because people pay a relatively small sum – £3.50 – for a bagful of shopping worth a lot more. And they can choose what they go away with from a range of goods, including fresh produce, rather than have it chosen for them. Both of these things make people feel they are playing their part and not just getting a free handout.

“All power to Everton in the Community and the other organisations working together on the project – including Fans Supporting Foodbanks and the St Andrews Community Network. They are helping people – but also encouraging them to help themselves.”

The Blue Base Pantry was launched in June 2022 and provides participants and people living in Liverpool 4 with access to discounted food and wrap-around support, such as advice and guidance on benefits, welfare and housing support, access to a registered GP and wellbeing activities.

Delivered in partnership with Fans Supporting Foodbanks, St Andrews Community Network and Fareshare, the Blue Base Pantry is now the fourth busiest ‘Your Local Pantry’ in the UK, with more than 400 active members registered on the system.

In addition to providing members with access to essential food and toiletries, Everton in the Community also hosts health screening events on Pantry days, giving residents the opportunity to be tested for diabetes, blood pressure and various types of cancer as well as holding a COVID-19 vaccination pop-up.

Other services provided through the Pantry include access to a two-day healthy eating cooking workshop, debt management support, employment advice and signposting to engage in other EitC activities which are delivered across the Goodison Campus.

Everton in the Community Senior Programme Manager, Adam Howard, said:

“It was fantastic to welcome the Committee to our Blue Base Pantry to showcase the support we offer to the local community and how we’ve removed the stigma around accessing a food pantry such as ours.

“We’re very appreciative of the Committee’s interest in Everton in the Community and hope that the learnings they have taken away will help to implement similar pantry models in other areas of the country.”

For more information on the Blue Base Pantry, click here.

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