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New project to help Preston residents team up to cut their food bills

Posted on - 6th March, 2021 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Campaigns, Preston News

A new project has been launched in Preston to help residents work together to reduce their expenditure and tackle food poverty.

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Three community groups will work with residents to form ‘food buying cooperatives’, where groups pool their resources to access better quality food at more affordable prices.

The 12-week pilot project will see trial schemes set up with groups of around 20 households each.

Councillor Nweeda Khan
Nweeda Khan is backing the pilot

Councillor Nweeda Khan, Cabinet Member for Communities and Social Justice at Preston City Council, said: “The pandemic continues to impact families throughout the city with many stretched budgets becoming even tighter.

“Initiatives like this give residents the power to work together as a community and support one another. By forming food buying cooperatives, residents will be empowered to make their collective resources go further by accessing better food at a better price.

“Ideas like this can also be the catalyst for families to work together to share recipes and advice as well as other skills.”

Read more: Preston Grasshoppers donate ‘huge’ amount of food to benefit Salvation Army foodbank

The three community organisations, Preston Windrush Generation Descendants Group, Fishwick Rangers and Preston United Youth Development Programme will be supported by the Preston Cooperative Development Network (PCDN), cooperative development agency Stir to Action and a team from Cooperation Town, a new network of community-led food buying cooperatives. The project is funded by the Co-operative Group via Co-operatives UK.

As the pilot project develops, the community organisations and the PCDN will share their learning with Preston’s Community Food Hub Network, which has played a crucial role in supporting communities across Preston during the pandemic. 

Project partners will also reach out to other cooperative food initiatives in Preston.

Read more: Whitby’s Pantry in Ingol receives £300 donation

Zul Hussain, from community group Fishwick Rangers, said: “We’re really pleased to be involved in this new project to address food poverty in our community.

“We want to support people so they have more control over how they get hold of the food they need and how much they pay for it. We think that a cooperative approach has real potential.”

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The work comes following the launch of Preston City Council’s Community Wealth Building Strategy, which focuses on recovery from Covid-19 and developing community resilience.

It also follows on from Stir to Action’s six-week programme in Autumn 2020, which focused on building co-operative skills and capacity within a cohort of local charities and community groups.

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What do you think of the initiative? Let us know in the comments.

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