Community pantry fitted underneath skatepark by wildlife organisation to support local people

Wildlife organisation ‘Wilder Neighbourhoods’ has fitted a secure pantry underneath the ramp of a skatepark in the Philadelphia nature space in Sheffield.

People do not have to demonstrate a need to use the community pantry. They can simply go along and take what they need. Similarly, people who want to make donations can simply drop off supplies at the pantry.

Jenny Drewry, one of the members of Wilder Neighbourhoods, said: “The pantry first and foremost ensures that people have access to food that doesn’t require proof of need but also without shame as it’s used as a swap station too”.

The introduction of the community pantry is part of a larger plan from the not-for-profit organisation to create a nature trail from Philadelphia gardens to Ponderosa.

The group aims to rejuvenate the abandoned and neglected areas so the space can benefit residents and wildlife in times of great need.

Wilder neighbourhood’s team has worked alongside local skater Ash Mercer, with the ‘House skatepark’ group, who has worked tirelessly to clean and improve the ramps at the ‘UK’s worst skatepark’.

After the pantry was destroyed by vandals in January, Mrs Drewry said: “We do find it very sad when they are destroyed. Especially due to the time and effort that goes into fetching, building, painting them as well as cost.

“However, we try very hard to focus on the positives or nothing would change…We get disheartened when it happens, but we clean it up as soon we are made aware of it and do what we can to get it back up and running”.

Thanks to the staff of local business, DM Steelcraft, a new bespoke – much more secure – storage unit has been built underneath the ramps and is in keeping with the surroundings of the area, the company worked hard to get the pantry back up and running for the community.

Organisers say that during the current cost of living crisis, this act of community kindness goes a long way to supporting local people, with the anonymity and taking and replacing without shame that a food bank doesn’t have.

The food store can be located at the Philadelphia nature space, just off Fox Road S6 3QL, in the skate park area under the quarter pipe and the group encourages anyone to “swap, share and take what they need”.

Written by James Morgan-Wynne

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