Crown Commercial Service
Discover how Hampshire County Council successfully launched 19 community pantries
In this case study, we will discuss how Hampshire County Council used our Voucher Scheme framework (RM6255) to successfully launch 19 community pantries.
Hampshire County Council provides public services to 1.3 million residents across Hampshire (excluding Portsmouth and Southampton). They have launched 19 community pantries using our Voucher Scheme framework (RM6255) across the region, providing access to affordable food.
In addition, there are another 8 locations across the New Forest that are served by mobile larders with start-up funding from Hampshire County Council.
About community pantries
Since December 2020, the Department for Work and Pensions has been running grant schemes to provide essential support to those most in need across England. This includes support with the cost of food, energy, water and other essentials. Each funding cycle runs for 6 months. One of the challenges facing Hampshire County Council was providing essential support to as many people as they could, as quickly as possible.
The community pantry scheme provides access to groceries at a lower cost than supermarkets or shops, as well as dealing with food waste. For a small weekly contribution, community pantry members can access significant savings on their weekly food shop. For example, a £5 voucher equates to £15 in groceries. The range of food available changes on a weekly basis.
Anyone can access a community pantry, they just need to sign up to become a member. Membership is managed as part of Hampshire County Council’s Connect4Communities programme, under Hampshire Children’s Services.
In the first phase of support, Hampshire County Council appointed Wonde Ltd to provide retail vouchers to eligible families through their school network through our Voucher Scheme framework (RM6255). The vouchers could then be redeemed in supermarkets and community pantries. Currently, over 100 Hampshire schools already use Evouchers (Evouchers is part of Wonde Ltd) in the provision of retail vouchers to their free school meal eligible families.
Assistant Director of Access, Resources and Business Development at Hampshire County Council, Suzanne Smith recently said:
A large number of our schools already had connections with Wonde so the data management solution was in place, familiar and popular with our schools and families. The level of support from the Evouchers account management and reporting was excellent. The delivery from the team was responsive and swift.
Expanding the offering
In December 2021, Hampshire County Council evaluated their offer and updated the list of retailers to include their community pantries. This provided both more choice and significant value for money for eligible families. Utility vouchers were also added to the offer.
Because of Evoucher’s enhanced technology, we were able to move quickly and brought 16 pantries online over the 2 week Christmas period.
Broadening the retail choice really helped to increase awareness of the community pantries among residents. We have had anecdotal reports of increased footfall, higher levels of income, greater reach and, with the added option of support through utility vouchers, pantries have been able to provide well rounded support for their customers.
With the rising cost of living, the next focus for Hampshire County Council is to provide support to stabilise the everyday lives of residents. The council works with a number of partners including fire, police and children’s services to share knowledge and work on solutions to provide help for those that are struggling in the current climate.
Hampshire County Council plans to analyse the use of its community pantries and continue to encourage and promote its use. Suzanne recently commented:
For the pantries to truly be part of our community and help those who need it most, education is key. We need to make people aware of the impact of minimising food waste by shopping in pantries, whilst reducing the negative connotations sometimes associated with them.
The council plans to introduce the next phase for provision soon. This includes building wraparound support services within the pantries, with the aim of developing them into community hubs to further support residents.
Add power to your procurement with CCS
To find out more about the services available to you:
- visit the RM6255 Vouchers Scheme framework
- visit the upcoming Payment Solutions 2 framework
- call us on 0345 410 2222
- email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- fill in our online form
You can also find a full list of all the commercial agreements we offer, alongside details of how we can help you build policy considerations into your procurement, in our interactive digital brochure.
Original article link: https://www.crowncommercial.gov.uk/news/discover-how-hampshire-county-council-launched-19-community-pantries
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