We have been lucky enough to engage with some amazing people from across Wiltshire, the UK and all corners of the world on our journey to date. Here’s a bit about our evolution and a snapshot of some of the incredible individuals we’ve met along the way…
It all started back in 2011
We had a crazy dream that a passion for cooking and reducing waste could be channelled into helping others to also enjoy eating and making delicious, nutritious, communal meals and to make more from less.
Our ambitions and activities have evolved over time. We started out working further afield but quickly discovered there was lots that we could also do back here at home in the UK.
Initially we hosted ‘Next to Nothing’ Pantry Parties to raise funds to support a large community fuel efficiency project in Ghana. With momentum building back at home, we teamed up with our lovely friends at Foodcycle HQ and launched a first in Salisbury, community hub serving meals made from food destined for landfill.
From here we expanded our public events in order to raise funds for our community initiatives, holding cookery workshops other communal cooking events. Activity of that kind continue today and allow us to help individuals identified as being in need of support via our local charity partners (including the wonderful Trussell Trust -with whom we worked alongside to create and run ‘Eat Well, Spend Less’ cooking programmes.)
In 2014 we were super proud to win the ‘Wiltshire Healthy Eating Award’ for our work with the fabulous Alzheimer’s Society.
In 2015, we secured our first plot of land for people to learn how to grow and cook from and we also started to run our ‘Surplus Supper Clubs’ to broaden our reach within the community.
In 2018 we secured our beloved first home ‘Pantry in the Park’ (affectionately known as PIP), and with a lot of hard labour and love we refurbished the former bowls club in Victoria Park, Salisbury into the community kitchen and pop up space that we operate from today.
All ready to throw open our doors in 2019 we held our launch party and saw lots of local people celebrate PIPs fresh new look and a fantastic group of past, present and future volunteers came together to continue our pop up cafes and evening events, open ‘The Hatch’ (a training ground for those with specific needs) and gather momentum around our outdoor catering offer.
2020 saw the pandemic hit and we were needed more than ever! Our ‘Feeding Salisbury!’ emergency response food delivery scheme saw us collect around 20 tonnes of surplus food, create 7000 meals for people in the community and benefit a whole range of people from the elderly and isolated to low income families and vulnerable adults. We even managed to get our friends at Headway out every week with a tea party in the park or to come to collect a bag of goodies from us.
As time goes on we continue to flex and adapt, according to the needs of the community, our work continues, our plot flourishes and our team provide the energy and enthusiasm to allow us to keep going.
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Vicki, the Volunteer
Vicki joined us from sheltered housing, having found herself isolated in a new town.
She started coming to enjoy meals with us, discovering and enjoying a new way of eating by using surplus food supplemented with fresh local produce. Through the people she met and the regular contact she was experiencing, Vicki quickly gained confidence and rediscovered her independent nature.
She has now set up her own healthy lifestyle business and offers her support to us as a volunteer
Jim and Cathy, the Carers
Cathy’s husband has dementia and she said that coming to our cooking sessions had given her a new lease of life.
She’s was able to meet other people in a similar position to herself, re-engaging with fresh food in the kitchen and learning skills that she still uses to support her husband at home.
Jim’s wife also has dementia. Jim, an ex-Naval Officer, has taken on the role of main carer and, on occasions, also looks after his young grandchildren.
Jim came to cooking sessions held by The Pantry Partnership through the Alzheimer’s Society. He is now an able cook, creating all manner of dishes and even enjoys juggling dumplings (a trick he taught us!) He tells us that he thoroughly enjoys his new-found skills and is proud of the delights he creates for his family from his kitchen.
Faithful, the Entrepreneur
Having been provided with a stove by The Pantry Partnership, Faithful modified it with discarded biscuits tins and created a fully functioning oven. She’d seen similar ovens being crafted when she spent time in the city of Accra, Ghana. She now makes pies to sell at the local market (in batches of 100!) using her fuel-efficient stove to heat her oven – and she is also proud to fully provide for the needs of her young family. We love her entrepreneurial spirit as do all of her neighbours – she has become a local celebrity!