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Pantry’s award for transforming lives

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A project helping people struggling to make ends meet have access to essential and affordable day-to-day products has been recognised at a national award ceremony in London.The Purfleet Pantry social supermarket in King’s Lynn was highly commended in the category for Transforming Lives at the MJ Awards, which took place at the Park Plaza Hotel last week.The project is a collaboration between West Norfolk Council and charities The Purfleet Trust and Nourishing Norfolk.

Staff from the Purfleet Trust, West Norfolk Council and borough councillors after receiving the award.

Since its launch last year, the Pantry, located near the South Gate in London Road, has attracted more than 1,000 members – who each pay a nominal £3 joining fee – with groceries and other products on average 38 per cent cheaper than found on the shelves of chain supermarkets.It offers affordable food, clothes and furniture, as well as free toothbrushes and toothpaste for children, plus ‘Food for Thought’ cooking sessions.In its first year, it has supported more than 3,000 people, including more than 260 families with young children.

The awards ceremony.

Paula Hall, chief executive of The Purfleet Trust, said: “It was lovely to reach the final of such a prestigious award and to achieve a highly commended certificate was an amazing achievement for the Pantry, which has only been open for a year. “It is incredible for The Purfleet Trust to be associated with such an amazing initiative and we look forward to the future at the Pantry.”Mark Whitmore, assistant director for health, wellbeing and public protection at the borough council, added: “This is partnership working at its best delivering real outcomes for people.

Celebrations as the project was named as Highly Commended for Transforming Lives.

“We’ve helped more than 1,000 members and the MJ panel recognised this when they described it as a ‘great example of positive disruption’. “I am delighted with our ‘highly commended’ award and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff and volunteers involved from the council, The Purfleet Trust and Nourishing Norfolk, who have made it such a success.”The MJ awards celebrate excellence from those in local government who dedicate themselves to supporting their local communities.

The project was Highly Commended.

Deprivation in South Lynn and the town centre is significantly worse than the national average and significantly worse than other areas of West Norfolk.Child poverty, unemployment rates and fuel poverty are also significantly higher. Deprivation reduces life expectancy, but also reduces the chances of a healthy life. Multimorbidity – the presence of two or more long-term health conditions – is higher in areas of highest deprivation.Borough councillor Alexandra Kemp, who represents South Lynn and who has donated some of her councillor allowance to help the Pantry provide toothbrushes and toothpaste for children, said: “This is well-deserved recognition, for a truly transformative project, which started in embryo over two years ago.“Purfleet Pantry was finally launched just over a year ago, after endless planning, hard work and commitment. Forging a tremendous partnership between the borough council and The Purfleet Trust – and all the volunteers.“At the start, it took ward members like me, a tremendous amount of constant pushing and piping up, to put South Lynn on the map, with the first Nourishing Norfolk Affordable Food Supermarket in West Norfolk. “It was touch and go it would ever happen. But thanks to borough council chief executive Lorraine Gore, plus Paula Hall and Karen Mason from The Purfleet Trust, it did.“Purfleet Pantry is here and is West Norfolk’s answer to the cost of living crisis.“With more than 1,000 members all benefitting from 38 per cent cheaper grocery shopping and thanks to the dental campaign we set up, there are free toothbrushes and toothpaste for children. Now opticians appointments too.“People donate and give something back. It is the community helping the community. A towering achievement in one of the most deprived wards in the country. If you haven’t joined, please do so.”

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