With the cost of living rising across the UK, this case study examines how Hampshire County Council used our Voucher Scheme framework (RM6255) to launch 19 community pantries.

Published 14 December 2022

Last updated 14 December 2022

Updated: September 2023

Hampshire County Council provides public services to 1.3 million residents across Hampshire (excluding Portsmouth and Southampton).

In response to the rising cost of living, they have launched 19 community pantries using CCS’ Voucher Scheme framework (RM6255) across the region, providing residents with access to affordable food. In addition, there are another 8 locations across the New Forest that are served by mobile larders with start-up funding from Hampshire County Council.

About community pantries

Since December 2020, the Department for Work and Pensions has been running grant schemes to provide essential support to those most in need across England. This includes support with the cost of food, energy, water and other essentials. Each funding cycle runs for 6 months. One of the challenges facing Hampshire County Council was providing essential support to as many people as they could, as quickly as possible.

The community pantry scheme provides access to groceries at a lower cost than supermarkets or shops, as well as dealing with food waste. For a small weekly contribution, community pantry members can access significant savings on their weekly food shop. For example, a £5 voucher equates to £15 in groceries. The range of food available changes on a weekly basis.

Anyone can access a community pantry, they just need to sign up to become a member. Membership is managed as part of Hampshire County Council’s Connect4Communities programme, under Hampshire Children’s Services. 

The outcome


In the first phase of support, Hampshire County Council appointed Wonde Ltd to provide retail vouchers to eligible families through their school network through our Voucher Scheme framework (RM6255). The vouchers could then be redeemed in supermarkets and community pantries. Currently, over 100 Hampshire schools already use Evouchers (Evouchers is part of Wonde Ltd) in the provision of retail vouchers to their free school meal eligible families.

Assistant Director of Access, Resources and Business Development at Hampshire County Council, Suzanne Smith says: 

A large number of our schools already had connections with Wonde so the data management solution was in place, familiar and popular with our schools and families. The level of support from the Evouchers account management and reporting was excellent. The delivery from the team was responsive and swift.

Expanding the offering

In December 2021, Hampshire County Council evaluated their offer and updated the list of retailers to include their community pantries. This provided both more choice and significant value for money for eligible families. Utility vouchers were also added to the offer.

Suzanne added:

Because of Evoucher’s enhanced technology, we were able to move quickly and brought 16 pantries online over the 2 week Christmas period.

Broadening the retail choice really helped to increase awareness of the community pantries among residents. We have had anecdotal reports of increased footfall, higher levels of income, greater reach and, with the added option of support through utility vouchers, pantries have been able to provide well rounded support for their customers.

The future: continuing to help residents with the cost of living 

With the rising cost of living, the next focus for Hampshire County Council is to provide support to stabilise the everyday lives of residents. The council works with a number of partners including fire, police and children’s services to share knowledge and work on solutions to provide help for those that are struggling in the current climate. 

Hampshire County Council plans to analyse the use of its community pantries and continue to encourage and promote its use. Suzanne commented: 

For the pantries to truly be part of our community and help those who need it most, education is key. We need to make people aware of the impact of minimising food waste by shopping in pantries, whilst reducing the negative connotations sometimes associated with them.

The council plans to introduce the next phase for provision soon. This includes building wraparound support services within the pantries, with the aim of developing them into community hubs to further support residents.  The collaboration with CCS enabled Hampshire to achieve social value.

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