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SWT pantry team shortlisted in local radio awards

29 September 2022 : Council news, Community

Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) Council’s team of community volunteers at Rowbarton Local Pantry (RLP) has been shortlisted in BBC Radio Somerset’s ‘Make A Difference’ awards for 2022.

The ‘Make A Difference’ awards are held annually by BBC Radio stations across England in recognition of local heroes making a difference to lives within their communities.

SWT’s RLP team has been nominated for the awards’ ‘Environmental Category’ for their contribution towards the environment.

Based at Rowbarton Methodist Church in Taunton, RLP was the first of its kind to be piloted by SWT with the aim of mitigating food insecurity whilst reducing food waste and associated CO2 emissions.

The volunteer team work in partnership with national food charity FareShare South West, local retailers and allotment groups to salvage huge volumes of good surplus food, which is distributed locally to around 40 low-income households. 

For just £3.50 a week, members receive up to fifteen fresh and shelf-stable food items worth £15 to £20, which is comparable to an annual saving of £1,144.

Since launching in March 2021, the team has saved and redistributed 10.4 tonnes of food, saving an equivalent 4.2 tonnes of CO2.

BBC Radio Somerset is hosting a special awards ceremony at Somerset County Cricket Ground, Taunton, on Friday evening, 14 October, where the overall winner will be announced.

Executive Member for Community, Councillor Christopher Booth, said: “I'm delighted to hear that our pantry team at Rowbarton has been shortlisted in this year’s 'Making a Difference' awards on account of their commitment to reducing food waste and CO2 emissions.

“The hard work by the team over the last 18 months has made a real difference to local families who are struggling to put meals on the table, especially at a time when we’re experiencing a cost of living crisis.

“I’d like to congratulate the team and their leader Gillian Flick, and I wish them every luck for the upcoming awards ceremony.”

Chris Burns, Head of Audio and Digital for BBC England, said: “The last two years have been challenging for everyone. Listeners have contacted us to share the stories of how people have helped each other, and we wanted to find a way of celebrating those unsung heroes and telling those amazing stories.”

Rowbarton Pantry represents one of five in a growing network across Somerset West and Taunton with the latest pantry opening in Wellington on 20 September.

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