More room to grow as Aberdeen food project set to double in size

Support worker Claire Whyte, Vi Beattie, Ian Armstrong and Councillor Lesley Dunbar at the Woodside Pantry
Support worker Claire Whyte, Vi Beattie, Ian Armstrong and Councillor Lesley Dunbar at the Woodside Pantry

An innovative food project has signed up more than double its capacity – but plans to make space for more.

Woodside Pantry, based at Woodside Fountain Centre, is the first in Scotland to embrace the concept where members pay a small fee.

At the pantry, members pay £3 for an annual subscription, and then £2.50 for each visit, where they are allowed to take 10 items, three of which are considered to be high quality.

Registration for the project opened on Tuesday, with 40 people successfully becoming members – including 10 of the volunteers who help run the pantry – and a further 30 being placed on the waiting list.

According to Claire Whyte, a community worker at the Fersands and Fountain Community Project, which has partnered with city food charity CFine to deliver the pantry, the 30 people on the waiting list will be able to use the scheme within the next month.

She said: “It went really well. We assigned 40 places, including 10 for the volunteers who help us keep the pantry running.

“We’ve also got a waiting list of around 30 people.

“This will be released on March 12 and that means all these people have access to the service, but allows us to get everything up and running first.

“It’s roughly the amount of people we expected, because we knew we were going to have a waiting list.”

Despite catering for just 40 people now, Claire and the staff from the pantry are aiming to have 100 people enrolled in the coming months.

She said: “We’re hoping to have around 70 people by March 12, and then we’ll open it up for more people to apply until we’ve reached 100.”

Althought it is still a new project, CFine is keen to roll out the pantry in other areas of the city, including a branch in their Poynerook Road base, along with a clothes shop along similar lines.

Based on her experience in the newly-minted pantry, Claire foresees no problems in extending the project out to all regeneration areas across the city.

She said: “It’s been a huge success here and I absolutely think it’s something that will be able to spread right across the city.

“There’s been a lot of work going on in the background.

You have to have so much training for the staff and other things like that.

“There’s been a lot of work behind the process, but once we have the logistics in place, it can almost be mirrored anywhere across the city.”