• Huw Irranca-Davies

Community pantries – tackling food waste and providing affordable food too

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

I’ve taken the chance in recent months to visit many “Community Pantries” which have popped up across the borough, and I’ve volunteered myself to see the wonderful work being done by local people. It truly is fantastic what you can do with a good heart and a determination to make a positive difference.

These Community Pantries have been set up in many of our towns and villages, providing nutritious and affordable food for residents whilst also tackling food waste. The Pantries also help promote our local community facilities and a range of support services too by basing themselves in our community halls. The way it works is simple too: for a small fee, a bag of nutritious and affordable food is provided along with a friendly face of one of the volunteers.

The national charity FareShare Cymru helps supply foods to the pantries, along with local stores and supermarkets too, reducing food waste by redistributing great food that would usually be wasted and end up in landfill (all the food is fresh and is within its use by date). FareShare Cymru saved an incredible 511 tonnes of surplus food from waste last year alone - enough food for almost 950,000 meals that would’ve been thrown away which has now ended up at 136 organisations across the country feeding tens of thousands of people.

The Community Pantry projects are delivered by the team at local-based Eclipse Wales with support from Bridgend County Borough Council’s Rural Development team and Welsh Government. Some of the early funding for this has been made available through the Welsh Government Rural Communities-Rural Development Programme, and other partners.

There are now 12 pantries across Bridgend County (and growing!) with 9 of them in the Ogmore constituency including Aberkenfig, Bettws, Blaengarw, Bryncethin, Cefn Cribwr, Lewistown, Maesteg, Nantymoel and Pencoed. All information on where, when and how the pantries operate is available on Bridgend County Borough Council’s website or if you would like more information feel free to get in touch with my office.