A funding scheme has been unveiled aimed at supplying affordable food for people struggling financially across East Suffolk.

Supported by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the East Suffolk Pantries Grant Scheme seeks to establish community pantries across the district.

The three-year project aims to help people with financial difficulties by providing affordable food, local welfare support, and social interaction to lessen loneliness.

At these pantries, modelled on shops, members can spend less than £5 per week and acquire food equating to or exceeding £15 in value.

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Pantries can also provide additional support, signposting to other local services and help to reduce social isolation.

Following its fruitful previous rounds, the next phase of grant applications is now open.

That offers grants as high as £4,500.

The application window, now open, will close on June 28.

Cllr Sarah Whitelock, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for Communities, Leisure and Tourism, said: “Many people are still struggling with food costs and are finding it difficult to buy essential items.

"This scheme aims to give users of community pantries some certainty about their weekly budget and supply what they need for a small weekly payment.

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"The pantries also help manage the demand on increasingly busy foodbanks.”

Successful grant recipients have included both the Bungay Community Support-run Food Hall on Wingfield Street and Larder on the Hill at Bloodmoor Community Centre.

Each week, these pantries aid households in the area in acquiring affordable nutrition.

Providers who are successful in their bid will join the East Suffolk Food Network.

That network brings together organisations that offer affordable food and emergency provisions.

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The platform will serve to share effective practices, secure support and manage the distribution of surplus food.

Applications are encouraged from community and voluntary groups, organisations, and town and parish councils.

To learn more and apply, visit eastsuffolk.co/ukspf.