Wednesday 27th May is World Hunger Day. Forever Manchester funds and supports a variety of causes, and one of these is helping groups that help people to have warm food on the table.

One of these groups is Penny Lane Pantry, which is a not for profit self-sustaining food store based in Lancashire Hill, Stockport.


Penny Lane Pantry invite local residents to sign up as a member of the pantry for £2 a week, this entitles them to 10 items from a wide range of goods, including fresh fruit and vegetables and all the usual cupboard favourites.

The group also gives residents cookery classes, which is what the grant from Forever Manchester helped to fund.

We recently had a staff visit to Penny Lane Pantry, which included our Chairman, Jo Farrell, here’s her take on the day…

“The visit to Penny Lane Pantry went well and I was really pleased to have the chance to visit the group and to find out more.

“Clare and Jason from CDL – Forever Manchester’s Corporate Partner, and holders of the fund that granted the award to Penny Lane Pantry, James Hampson, (Communities Co-Ordinator at Forever Manchester) and I met with Anna, Stockport Council’s ‘pantry’ organiser.

“It was interesting to go to the Pantry, meet the volunteers, and to find out more about how the scheme works and how people in the community in and around Hanover Towers [the building the pantry is based in] use it.  Alongside the practical aspect, there are clear social benefits for the volunteers who are enthusiastic about developing the points-based membership scheme, and for the members who drop into the Pantry to make the most of the benefits.

“The latest funding is supported by the CDL fund to develop the scheme by putting on cookery training sessions, which can develop the skills and knowledge of volunteers who can then give members ideas of how to use the groceries available in interesting and nutritious recipes for all of the family.

“Clearly, there are challenges to making the scheme work in the best way it can, for example, reduction in take up from members who might be disappointed with lack of choice, but Anna has identified the issues and is working to tackle them and the new training should help here. We talked about managing expectations about choice – it’s not a supermarket –  and helping people to make the most of the products available. Fruit and veg is a very popular choice and a recent introduction.

“James offered to meet Anna and talk to her about a trial ABCD scheme, making connections, e.g., the cafe with the pantry, and to support her role. She is going to follow that up with James and he with her.  Now that the scheme is underway and has a good base, clearly the challenge is the sustainability and development of the scheme with the residents to make sure that Penny Lane Pantry stays in the heart of the community.”

Groups like these help people in the toughest of situations to feed their families the healthy meals they deserve and can help prevent further illness thanks to the vitamins from the fruit and vegetables available for an affordable price. If you’d like to help us to fund more groups like Penny Lane Pantry, DONATE TODAY and make a real difference in your area.