NEW volunteers gave up their time for free at a community pantry serving hundreds of households as part of the ‘Big Help Out’.

Unit 12’s Community Food Pantry, in Winnall, embraced the opportunity to recruit new volunteers through King Charles III’s national campaign to mark the Coronation on Monday, May 8.

In the spirit of the royal weekend, people put themselves forward and discovered first-hand what it’s like to help out at one of Winchester's busiest community projects.

READ MORE: Unit 12’s Community Food Pantry in Winnall is helping more people put food on the table throughout the cost-of-living crisis

The food pantry, run by community interest company Unit 12 has more than 900 households who are registered members, with more than 300 households shopping at the pantry each month.

The aim is to provide people with a week’s worth of shopping for just £5, in addition to a selection of items such as fresh veg, bread and other short-life products donated by supermarkets.

Food pantry manager Lara Tarrant said: "A vital part of what we do is support families who may be struggling with rising food costs, but we are also tackling food waste.

"So much is wasted by supermarkets still, but the food pantry aims to tackle this. We are a pantry for the whole community - whether it's because people need some support with rising food costs or because they simply want to help tackle food waste - the pantry is for everyone.

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"Our volunteers are vital to what we do here, so it's been really uplifting to welcome and train a new group.”

Volunteer director and city councillor, Cllr John Tippett-Cooper, said: "Hundreds of families per month shop at the food pantry and not only do they get a good range of food for their £5, they get a caring and friendly welcome from Lara and a team of quite amazing volunteers.

“We work in partnership with brilliant local charity the Winchester Basics Bank and national charity Fareshare but are grateful to our supermarket partners who have supported our community support and zero waste ethos.”

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