Schoolchildren have opened a foodbank in Stratford to help families in need.

Members of Stratford Youth Zone have been given funds by a City financial company for the project and food from a charity in Limehouse to help people who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

A team of 12 youngsters aged nine to 16 set up the Stratford Pantry after completing a hygiene course to make sure the project complies with health and safety requirements.

The process of setting it up has also had a benefit for the young volunteers, such as 16-year-old Gia Ral.

“This has helped build my confidence,” she said. “I enjoy being part of the project and helping people in the community who need help.”

The pantry welcomed 10 families at its first Thursday session. It hopes up to 40 families could benefit once word gets around.

The food is supplied by the Felix Project's distribution depot in Limehouse which helped set up the project.

Alice Handelman-Pedroza, from the charity, said: “It's amazing seeing the pantry up and running, with people coming through the doors and telling the youngsters how grateful they are for support through the cost-of-living crisis.

“We will be supplying them with 250kg of fresh food each week and seeing how its popularity grows.”

The youngsters are also planning to visit the charity’s Thomas Road depot to see how it operates.

The Felix Project is London’s largest food redistribution charity, set up in 2016 to “rescue good food” in the catering and retail industry that can’t be sold. It delivers the food to 1,000 organisations and schools for those in need.

The pantry scheme is being paid for by a donation from the Tullett Prebon international financial services group's Bishopsgate HQ.

The company’s community manager Marsha Lacey said: “We are supporting this unique youth-led project to get off the ground, seeing these inspiring young people doing something to help others.”

The Pantry is every Thursday, but customers have to register by email to for the location and are asked for a suggested £2.50 donation to get a bag of food in return.