The UK’s ‘prepper’ movement is growing as more people stockpile supplies at home in the face of the current crisis UK news | Daily News Byte

The UK’s ‘prepper’ movement is growing as more people stockpile supplies at home in the face of the current crisis  UK news

 | Daily News Byte

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Behind closed doors in Barry’s home is a room he has been preparing for the past year.

Driven by uncertainty, he is stocking up on food, first aid, torches and battery-powered lamps.

“Cost of living crises, power outages, fuel shortages, those things I’m well prepared for now,” he says.

On the shelves are at least a dozen boxes of tinned and dried foodstuffs—all carefully labeled and carefully stored to keep them dry and airtight.

“There’s about four months of food for the three of us,” Barry says. “But my goal now is to have enough food for the three of us for six months.”

Asked why, he replies: “Because you just don’t know. Life is so unpredictable right now.”

Barry Stock checks his supply store
Image:
Barry Stock checks his supply store

Barry is a so-called prepper, part of a growing community in the UK defined by the phrase: “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

Online prepping forums and YouTube channels, including Barry’s own, are attracting thousands of new members every week, as people seek advice on what to buy and how to store it.

“My advice to people is to have at least a week’s worth of food in storage,” says Barry, who posts the video online under the pseudonym Northman Prepping UK.

“Things like torches and battery-powered lamps are simple and not expensive if the lights go out.”

He hides his identity in the video, adding: “I really don’t want publicity. And if things get worse, I don’t want people to know where I live, or what supplies I have.”

Toilet paper, tinned food, candles and first aid kits
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Toilet paper, tinned food, candles and a first aid kit inside Barry’s store room

Guns are stockpiled as ‘people can go mad quickly’

On one wall of Barry’s storeroom is an array of air rifles and guns.

He says they are “just a hobby”, but as the current UK crisis escalates, he says they could help tackle a breakdown in law and order.

“People can get mad fast,” he says.

“I’m confident that my sons and I can defend our home if we need to. I’d rather be prepared. But food storage is the biggest thing for me.”

Barry collects air rifles and other guns
Image:
Barry collects air rifles and other guns

The preparedness movement began in the US, where it is more often associated with preparing for doomsday-like events.

It differs from the survivalist movement, which focuses on surviving total societal breakdown.

But here in the UK, prepper and psychologist Dr. Sarita Robinson says it has become “more mainstream”.

Dr. Robinson, who lectures on existential psychology at the University of Central Lancashire, describes himself as a “low-grade prepper”.

Dr Sarita Robinson of the University of Central Lancashire
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Dr Sarita Robinson describes herself as a ‘low-grade prepper’

“It’s really about having enough in reserve in case the government or local authorities can’t do things for you straight away,” she says.

In a closet under the stairs, Dr. Robinson laid out battery-powered lamps, torches and a large, external power-bank “that can keep our phones and computers running”, in case of power cuts this winter.

“Life has become a little more uncertain,” she says. “And when we lack that control, we can become anxious. So with some preparation, you get some control back.”

Dr. Despite the perception of preppers as “macho, ex-military-types,” most preppers are “little women with kids,” says Robinson.

Preppers ‘not tin-hats wearing nut jobs’

From her prep shop in Wales, Leigh Price sees new customers “from all walks of life”.

“[Preppers] Wearing a tin-hat is seen as a nut job,” he tells Sky News.

“But they’re not — they’re just people who want to make sure they have some security at home.”

Bug Out, which opened in 2020, is an Aladdin’s cave of survival gear.

Prepper Leigh Price
Image:
Prepper Leigh Price inside her shop in Wales

From food ration tins with a best-before date of 2047 to gas camping stoves and paraffin lamps, Mr Price says people spend between “£70 and £7,000” at a time.

“We have people calling from all over,” he says.

“They could be doctors, teachers from the city, from the country. It’s all about the ‘what-ifs.’ ‘What if the electric goes out, what if I can’t get the heating on?'”

Read more from Sky News:
Simple energy tricks to save you money this winter
Dangerous weather warning to hit the UK

“It’s insecurity, really, people don’t know what’s going on,” he adds.

Leigh says a recent call came from an “elderly grandmother” who was “worried about being alone and having the lights go out or not being able to pay her electric bill.

“I sent her some blankets, one of these little cookers, some gas, some food and phone numbers she could call if that happened,” he explains.

Food supply checklist
Image:
Food supply checklist

Insurance against uncertainty

Being prepared is “insurance against uncertainty,” claims Leigh.

Barry likens the feeling of seeing his full shelves to “when you look at your bank account and see you’ve got some savings.”

Dr. For Robinson, it’s simply “a matter of being prepared before a crisis hits, because by the time you’re in a crisis, it’s too late”.

“It’s like an epidemic when suddenly there was no loo roll anywhere, it wasn’t because of the preppers,” she says.

“Because preppers will have 100 loo rolls under the stairs for months.”

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