FoodSavers Network

FoodSavers offers high quality fresh and store cupboard food for a low weekly membership fee (typically £6). Much of our food is unwanted or surplus food, intercepted from being wasted. Membership also gives you the opportunity to attend cookery classes, save in a recognised Credit Union scheme, and enjoy other benefits, such as cookery classes, haircuts or volunteering.

  • Save money on your weekly shop
  • Save food from going to landfill
  • Save in a recognised Credit Union scheme

Our pilot study in Bradford has painted a compelling picture of guests accessing the FoodSavers service feeling empowered to feed their families, pleased at having the choice and flexibility to pick their own food and grateful to contribute towards feeding themselves rather than relying on handouts. As one lady said,

I came in feeling suicidal and I am leaving feeling I have HOPE.

The FoodSavers Network is made up of independent affordable food outlets, clustered around a local partnership involving some or all of a local Credit Union, Council, and food network. These partnerships are facilitated and supported by the small FoodSavers central team. Each outlet operates independently and sources their own food. A partnership agreement governs the relationship between each outlet and the network, and between the Credit Union and the network.

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Key principles

The five key pillars of the FoodSavers Network are:

  • Behaviour change
    FoodSavers looks hopefully towards a better future, building a culture of food and financial stability and sustainability, enabling members to make positive changes in their lives to achieve their goals. It affirms a culture of regular saving to build resilience.
  • Choice
    Members choose their own food to their own tastes, rather than a pre-packed parcel.
  • Dignity
    Members don’t have to answer intrusive personal questions (beyond ID verification) or have their financial details dug into. FoodSavers aims to enable every member to realise that they are valuable.
  • Empowerment
    Members can make their own decisions and choices. FoodSavers normalises the shopping experience rather than the foodbank experience, and aims to build self-worth. It is intended to be a time-limited intervention, enabling people to get to a point where they no longer need to make use of the service, but can continue to embed its principles in their everyday life.
  • Financial inclusion
    Members can gain access to, and knowledge of, appropriate financial services that meet their needs, delivered responsibly and sustainably.

FoodSavers recognises the importance of foodbanks in emergency provision, and affirms the excellent work done by all those involved. However, working with foodbanks and other support agencies, it aims to support members in moving beyond the initial crisis so that they do not have to remain dependent on free or low-cost food provision.