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New co-op project to help Preston residents cut their food bills

News item

2nd March 2021
Co-op development
grocery shop

A new project has been launched in Preston to help residents work together to reduce their expenditure and tackle food poverty.

Three community groups in the city will work with residents to form food buying co-operatives, where groups of residents pool their resources to access better quality food at more affordable prices.

The twelve week pilot project will see community groups in the city work with co-operative organisations to set up trial schemes with a number of groups of around twenty households each.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated health inequalities and food poverty across the UK. That’s why we’re proud to support an initiative that’s tackling these issues in diverse communities. Co-ops are for everyone and we’re delighted to be part of a project that's proof of that.
– Rose Marley, CEO of Co-operatives UK

The three community organisations, Preston Windrush Generation Descendants Group, Fishwick Rangers and Preston United Youth Development Programme will be supported by the Preston Co-operative Development Network (PCDN), co-operative development agency Stir to Action and a team from Co-operation Town, a new network of community-led food buying co-operatives. The project is funded by the Co-operative Group via Co-operatives UK.


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We’re really pleased to be involved in this new project to address food poverty in our community. We want to support people so they have more control over how they get hold of the food they need and how much they pay for it. We think that a co-operative approach has real potential.
– Zul Hussain, from community group Fishwick Rangers

As the pilot project develops, the community organisations and the PCDN will share their learning with Preston’s Community Food Hub Network which has played a crucial role in supporting communities across Preston during the pandemic. Project partners will also reach out to other co-operative food initiatives in Preston.

The work comes following the launch of Preston City Council’s Community Wealth Building Strategy which focuses on recovery from Covid-19 and developing community resilience.

Initiatives like this play a key part in community wealth building and are part of the council’s ambition to bring about a more democratic and people focussed economy in the city.

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The pandemic continues to impact families throughout the city with many stretched budgets becoming even tighter. Initiatives like this give residents the power to work together as a community and support one another. By forming food buying cooperatives, residents will be empowered to make their collective resources go further by accessing better food at a better price.
– Councillor Nweeda Khan, Cabinet Member for Communities and Social Justice at Preston City Council

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