A PILOT scheme to provide food for residents struggling to feed their family has launched.

Warrington Food Pantry has been set up at Fearnhead Community Centre and sees users pay a weekly £2.50 membership fee which gives them a basket of 10 items of food, worth up to £20.

The groceries will include fresh and healthy produce with menu cards to support people wanting to cook healthy, filling meals. There will also be opportunities to attend community cooking sessions, sharing ideas and tips for cooking on a budget.

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, cabinet member for health and chair of the Warrington Food Pantry group, said: “The food pantry will support people who find budgeting for food is a difficulty for them every week.

“It will provide temporary relief to help feed their families and also carries a more permanent aim to offer a supportive environment where members can develop their confidence with budgeting and cooking healthy meals.

“We hope this service will provide more long-term solutions for residents who find themselves in difficult situations, where food and money are a cause for concern.

“I’d like to thank all of our partners who have worked with us to research and develop this scheme.

“I’m grateful for the support of Clarion Futures, Torus, Warrington Foodbank and the council’s neighbourhood’s team for all the hard work that has gone into making this project possible.

“Together, we’d also like to thank our partners, Fareshare and Sellafield Ltd. for providing the food and kindly donating £5,000 of grant money.”

People can be referred by the council, Warrington Wellbeing service, Torus, Clarion, Citizens Advice Bureau and GPs.

The council says the activities aim to support residents to get out of food poverty.

It is expected that customer’s memberships will last for approximately six months.

Scott McKinven, financial inclusion manager at Clarion Futures, said: “Working with partners means that there’s so much more than food on offer to local people through the Warrington Food Pantry.

“By providing additional support, including access to free debt advice, money management guidance, and helping people to secure paid employment, we’ll be able to address some of the issues causing food insecurity and transform lives for the better.”

Gaynor Johnson, head of locality management at Torus, said: “Torus is committed to working with our partners to identify and deliver projects to meet the needs of the community.

“This project has enabled us all to work together to develop a new, accessible initiative, which aims to provide affordable food and essential support services directly to the people who need them.”