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Funding awarded to Plymouth projects stepping away from food aid

Two community-led initiatives that help people in disadvantaged neighbourhoods have been awarded funding through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

£3 fruit and veg box from Plymouth University food Co-op . Credit: Food Co-ops Plymouth

£3 fruit and veg box from Plymouth University food Co-op . Credit: Food Co-ops Plymouth

Plymouth Food Cooperative Connections have been awarded £252,500 to host food support schemes to help address the cost-of-living issues, while Nudge, the community benefit society based in Union Street, has received £470,940 to lead a partnership on work to open up empty buildings in Stonehouse to new community uses.

Cooperative Connections is part of a city-wide approach to address issues of food insecurity within Plymouth. The new funding will see:

  • A mobile van fitted out as a shop to support setting up new affordable food clubs – member based and for a small annual fee, people can buy cheap food. They open weekly on a pop-up basis and are run by volunteers. There is also signposting to additional cost-of-living support.
  • Social supermarkets: these are larger, take up a permanent space and are open twice a week. Also run by volunteers, they are similar to a normal shopping environment, but there’s a small annual membership fee as well as a weekly fee for a set number of items. They are not a replacement for standard shops but aim to supply the basics, with complementary additional cost-of-living wrap-around support.
  • Small scale manufacturing of pasta type sauces, jams, chutneys and preserves from left over fresh fruit and vegetables.


The Plymouth Food Security Collective bulk buys and distributes foodstuffs for food support work, including affordable food clubs and social supermarkets.

The collective is organised on co-operative principles and there’s a shift away from food aid to a Food Alliance model, which features a referrals system, an access portal with helpline and more of an emphasis on wrap-around services to support people away from needing help to get food.

The award followed an open call in the summer to community groups looking for funding under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The Council was looking for projects that will help fund community and place interventions with particular focus on cost-of-living challenges, net-zero, regenerating community assets and helping to build resilient communities.

The project is set to be one more key strand in Plymouth’s approach to food security, which also includes action under the City Council’s Cost of Living Plan.

The Sharing Communities project led by Nudge Community Builders also received £470,940 for the delivery of their UK Shared Prosperity project. Based on Union Street, Stonehouse, the project will allow them to continue their plan to open up C103, a former nightclub that has been empty for some years, to create a new community asset and space for a wide range of vital community activities.  

Their ambition is to create a space for underrepresented communities to celebrate their culture. This will be supported by growing their training offer, create new businesses and build stronger awareness and understanding between communities.

Watch BBC coverage

Read original news release from Plymouth City Council

Published Wednesday 10 January 2024

Good Food Local: Good Food Local supports local authorities to prioritise good food and commit to action on a breadth of food issues.

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