Paulsgrove Pantry – Community Project with Portsmouth HIVE
Comserv approached Portsmouth HIVE in 2022 to find a suitable community project that we could support. Whilst we work for Portsmouth City Council, our ‘patch’ covers local authority housing within Paulsgrove, Wecock Farm and Leigh Park, so we were particularly keen to support a social value initiative based in one of these areas.
We made contact with Portsmouth HIVE who were in the very early stages of planning to set up the Paulsgrove Pantry, and we readily volunteered to get involved.
Backed by the MP for Portsmouth North - Penny Mordaunt and Councillor Rob New, a space was identified within Paulsgrove Community Centre. As soon as this was confirmed, staff from Comserv went along to measure up the room. We then arranged for suitable racking and a food display fridge to be purchased.
Fitting out the Pantry
Three of our staff went along to fit the room out. Two of our Carpenter Apprentices - Cael Broadfoot, and Conor Daniels overseen by one of our Supervisors – Martin Malee. They set the room up according to the plan that we had agreed with Portsmouth HIVE, adding a lip to the racking to ensure that items wouldn’t fall off the back and ends of the shelves. This gave the Apprentices the opportunity to give back to the local community which we serve whilst gaining experience that they wouldn’t usually get working in peoples’ homes.
Cael (left) and Conor
What is a Pantry?
Food Pantries are not food banks and anyone in the catchment area can join them. They do not require a referral from the DWP or local council, but rather offer a way to access a weekly shop for as little as £4 per week. Members visit the pantry and choose what they would like to purchase as part of their shop just like you would in a small convenience store.
A Pantry is:
• Member-run: Pantries operate along cooperative lines where members pay a small subscription each week of a few pounds. Many volunteers are members too.
• Open to all: Unlike the Food Banks, members don’t need a referral - anyone who lives in an area served by a Pantry can join.
• Long-lasting: Members can join for as long as they want, and can choose to go every week or just occasionally.
The Paulsgrove Pantry opened in December 2022, and within a month some 50 families had become members. The pantry is open to anyone living within the Paulsgrove and Wymering area with a PO6 postcode. It costs £1 to join and proof of address is required. Members pay £4 per week and can shop for up to 10 items a shop, once per week.
The Paulsgrove Pantry is open Mondays 4-6pm, and Thursday 11am-1pm. For more information please follow the pantry’s Facebook page @Paulsgrove Food Pantry.
Donations – How you can help
Donations to the pantry are gratefully received. Donations can be dropped off from 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday. Please leave with Reception at Paulsgrove Community Centre, Marsden Road, Paulsgrove, PO6 4JB.
The core items that are needed are:
• Dried Pasta and dried Spaghetti
• Toilet rolls (High priority for packs of 4 toilet rolls)
• Baby nappies (high priority)
• Baby wipes
• Tins of beans
• Tins of spaghetti
• Tinned vegetables
• Tinned soup (any)
• Tea bags
• Instant coffee
• Long-Life Fruit Juice (cartons)
• Bottles of Squash
• Toothbrushes (for adults and children)
• Shower Gel
• Ladies’ Sanitary products (Tampons and Sanitary Towels)
More about Paulsgrove Community Centre
The Paulsgrove Pantry is situated in the heart of the community where there are a whole other host of community offerings either in the same building or nearby, such as a health hubs, wellness spaces, school uniform outlets, community cafes, GP practices and more.
Ongoing Support to the Pantry
Comserv have made a commitment to provide ongoing financial support to Paulsgrove Pantry to assist with running costs. The pantry relies on Pantry Partners like us across the Portsmouth area and donations to ensure the continuing supply of food.