Pantry scheme: Riverside community centre feeds people at low prices

The South Riverside Community Development Centre gives £25 worth of food for £5 by using surplus stocks of large supermarkets

When the scheme was first started in the beginning of the pandemic, the centre would do free delivery

A local community centre in Cardiff is selling groceries to people at bargain prices every week in an attempt to help people survive the pandemic.

The South Riverside Community Development Centre (SRCDC) hosts an open pantry on Tuesdays where people can buy £25 worth of food for £5. The programme was started at the beginning of the pandemic.

Cathryn Davies, administrator at SRCDC said that by nature of the institution, they aim to help the community. She said: “There were major food issues at the start of pandemic. People were losing their jobs, people were isolating, so there was a need for a food and delivery service.”

The physical shop for the pantry was opened 6 months ago at the Wyndham Street diner

The SRCDC is working with a charitable food redistribution organisation to whom they pay a quarterly fee. To recoup this fee, they charge a £5 fee from customers. According to Cathryn, at the start of the pandemic the community got a lot of grand funding, so they were giving the supplies for free but eventually they had to start charging a minimal fee.

Presently around 50 to 60 people use this service every week, but the centre is keen on doubling that number. Cathryn said: “We need to try and get it away from the fact that it is not a food bank, it is literally a community pantry and can be accessed by anyone.”

The pantry is open to customers every Tuesday from 1pm to 6pm

Large supermarkets give their unusable surplus stock to FareShare. The community centre then gets weekly deliveries from the organisation. “They do try and sort of have fresh goods, tinned goods and freezer goods as a mixture of what we get. We can’t guarantee what we get, it is literally potluck,” said Cathryn.

Jen Abell of SRCDC said: “This is actually part of a programme that takes supermarket quality food that would have been wasted…all of this would have essentially gone to the landfill or been wasted. So not only are we helping reduce food poverty, but we are also helping to reduce food waste.”

Jen Abell of SRCDC is very passionate about waste management and hence advocates this scheme more

This community pantry at Wyndham Street is open to people from Riverside, Canton and Grangetown. There are other pantries across the city which work on the same pattern. Find the pantry closest to you by searching for “your local pantry” on your browser.