Community Payback Project 2022-23


Community Payback (CP) is a court sentence requiring offenders to undertake up to 300 hours unpaid community work.

During lockdown CP workers in Stockport worked in surplus food centres ( and pantries ( packing and delivering food parcels for families in food poverty. Many in food poverty themselves continue to 'do their hours' at Fareshare and pantries.

But increasing demand for surplus food, together with supermarket efficiencies and labour shortages is reducing surplus food available and many pantries are seeking new sources of income to bulk-buy non-surplus food to supplement what surplus food is available, without having to put up pantry membership fees, which would debilitate their mission to help families out of food poverty.

Our project will use CP workers to raise funds for pantries while providing a pathway into paid employment for themselves, lifting them and pantry members out of food poverty. They'll start their CP work as pantry volunteers and complete it as work trials with supermarkets who'll guarantee at least an interview for paid employment on successful completion of their CP work at the supermarket. The supermarket will make a charitable donation to the pantry equivalent to the monetary value of the CP worker's unpaid work trial as fulfilment of the CP community benefit requirement and their own Corporate Social Responsibility commitments. This will enable the pantry to bulk-buy food to supplement dwindling surplus food supplies without increasing membership fees.

Piloting over 12 months in Stockport, people will learn about the project through pantry members. It'll provide a sustainable way out of food poverty for CP workers and pantry members and a new source of pantry income while easing labour shortages at supermarkets.

We will base a national roll-out on learning from the project and produce a template for CP with other charities and employers nationwide.