Storehouse & Field is an enhanced community food hub in Barnsley, and one of our newest CFMs. Named after the Old Saxon translation of Barnsley or Berneslai, in which ‘Berne’ translates to Storehouse and ‘Lay’ to field. They’ve set out to bring great quality food to Barnsley at an affordable price, whilst empowering the local community to take more ownership of their food journeys.
Similar to a food pantry, members pay £6 a week for a basket of shopping, full of healthy items and some tasty treats too (if you are interested in how these types of provisions work, read our food pantry article here). Storehouse & Field love to receive our most obscure foods, think candied walnuts, biltong, almond cream and beer bread mix, to reignite their members’ love for food – we think this is a great ethos! With members only paying £6 a week for their basket of food, Innovation Manager Amy Calvert tells me that members are much more willing to pick up and try foods they wouldn’t normally.
To further encourage new foods, when members sign-up they get a starter pack including all the store cupboard staples pictured, a SH&F tote bag and a recipe binder. The binder comes ready filled with some recipes and Amy and Chiara plan to add to this as time goes on, to show members how to make the most of the foods they offer.
While on my visit one of the members, Leanne, popped by with her toddler, Penny. Amy told me that the transformation she has seen in Leanne in only a month has been amazing.
“When Leanne first came in, we were taking about what happens at the end of the month when you start to wonder what you are going to do for that week’s food shopping and where the money is going to come from. Leanne cut me off and said “that sounds really familiar”.
She also spoke to me about her confidence and feeling isolated, struggling with having an 18-month-old and making ends meet. She was shy, quiet, spoke to me about a massive loss of confidence. She has started accessing personal training sessions in the other half of the building here and she seems to have undergone a complete transformation confidence wise. First couple of times she came in she was very meek and quiet, and now she is holding herself differently, shoulders back, head high, she came in yesterday looking absolutely amazing – which is great to see as well.”
Amy also tells me about George and Pauline, they visit every Wednesday to do their shop and every Friday to avail of the coffee space and have a chat with the Storehouse & Field team. Pauline is rapidly signing up all of her neighbours, telling them how exciting and accessible the provision is- she’s one of our biggest advocates. Just the other week, Pauline said that they’ve stopped going to their local carvery – “Why would I pay for a roast that I can make so much nicer at home? You’re saving us so much money”.
Other members are also encouraging friends to join, with Jill posting her weekly shop on her social media account. Jill also runs a community sewing group and is getting them to make some bunting for the café, making Storehouse & Field a real community project.
Overhearing conversations in the Storehouse & Field café, it’s really lovely to see how people very naturally and easily chat to one another, sharing recipes and ideas over a cup of coffee or tea.
“My husband has really come out of his shell since we joined. It gets him out of bed in a morning, the transformation is amazing” said another SH&F member. “Haven’t they done well with the space? It’s so good to see it being used again” said another, who used to attend the Sunday school way back when (and you’ve never heard such excited conversations over courgette cake).
Storehouse & Field is an environment where food, a topic that has caused some considerable stress and anxiety for people previously, has once again become a means of sharing, increasing community bonds, and positive stories.
We are really proud to support an organisation with such a great ethos surrounding food; that it should be fun, exciting and accessible for all, and we can’t wait to see how they grow.