Save money on your weekly shop

Save food from going to landfill

Save in a recognised Credit Union scheme

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.

Our pilot study in Bradford 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.

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.

Salad, Jacket Potato and cottage cheese for tomorrow. Thanks to you I can afford to eat healthily.

Shine FoodSavers member

What a great idea for the community.

Shine FoodSavers member

Just as Bradford has innovated with community food models to help people stretch their budgets further, this new FoodSavers model will build longer-term financial resilience.

Andrew Forsey, National Director, Feeding Britain

This is one of the most interesting and humane things to come across my desk in a long time.

Robert Kelly, CEO, ABCUL (Association of British Credit Unions Limited)

Bradford District Credit Union is proud to be the first credit union partner in this innovative venture with Inn Churches to tackle food insecurity across the Bradford District. Created as a response to the pandemic to assist people to move on from foodbank dependency, people in the poorest communities pay a fractional cost for quality food. However, the FoodSavers model also provides a savings framework to build financial resilience by saving into the credit union from the same cost. Today 322 vulnerable and financially excluded members have saved over £33,000 through 17 FoodSavers pantries with 3 more planned to be opened by the summer of 2023. We have enjoyed partnership working with Inn Churches and are pleased that the project is going national to help the financially-excluded get into a savings habit.

Ian Brewer, Bradford District Credit Union

Who we are

FoodSavers is a project of Inn Churches. The project was piloted in partnership with Bradford District Credit Union. We are very grateful to our principal funders: Inn Churches, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Feeding Britain and the Jerusalem Trust.

Find out more

If you’re interested in finding out more or joining the FoodSavers network, get in touch with us.