Social supermarket to offer affordable shopping to people in need

Published: Wed 14th July, 2021

  • The launch of the Your Store social supermarket
    The launch of the Your Store social supermarket

A social supermarket is being launched in Charnwood to help people access affordable shopping and support.

Your Store is being created by a partnership involving Charnwood Borough Council, John Storer Charnwood, The Bridge and Charnwood Food Poverty Group.

Located at John Storer House in Loughborough, Your Store will help people currently using foodbanks become more independent by offering food at discounted prices. Support will also be offered across a wide range of areas including mental health, debt advice and budgeting.

Customers will initially be identified by the Charnwood Food Poverty Group and Your Store is aiming to open its doors to its first customers in August.

Cllr Leigh Harper-Davies, the Council’s lead member for community support and equalities, said: “We set up Charnwood Community Action with partners to help people during the pandemic. From the base at John Storer House we have distributed over 25,000 parcels to hundreds of people and families in the borough alongside the work of other members of the Food Poverty Group, ensuring people received this vital support.

“Foodbanks in the area will continue to offer that support but we now want to help people who are ready to become more independent with their shopping.

“Your Store will offer people weekly shops at discounted prices and each member will have a personal plan to help them with things like budgeting, health and wellbeing, adult learning, employment support and more.

“Your Store is about adding another layer of support for people to help them become more independent, particularly those so badly affected by the pandemic.

“I believe this is fantastic project which can really help a number of people take those difficult steps towards becoming more independent so they can move on with their lives. The Council is committed to creating healthy communities.”

Joe McSharry, chair of the Charnwood Food Poverty Group, said: “Your Store represents the kind of joined-up, innovative and strategic thinking that is required for us to tackle food poverty together in Charnwood. It will add another layer to the fantastic effort of organisations throughout the borough that are helping people experiencing food poverty and insecurity, from emergency hot meal providers through to food banks, local charities and faith groups.

“The opening of Your Store sends a clear message to those who have experienced food poverty that help is available and change is possible. Whether you’re experiencing a crisis, looking to build capacity or feel ready to work with others in your community, local organisations are working together to get you the support you need. With support beyond food provision in place at Your Store, we can be confident that we are not only dealing with the issue of food poverty, but with its causes too.”

Paul Snape, deputy chief officer at The Bridge, said: “Your Store is representative of what real joined up working can achieve.  Charnwood Borough Council is a big supporter of the voluntary sector and recognises the strengths of partnership working and how much we can collectively achieve for our customers. 

“As lead organisation for Charnwood Food Poverty Group, we are big champions of Your Store and have been instrumental in its development with John Storer Charnwood and our colleagues at the local authority. I am excited about this genuine partnership approach to tackling food poverty in the borough”.

Karen Frostick, John Storer House director, said: “We have seen first-hand the impact food poverty has on individuals, families and communities and what is clear is that food alone does not resolve all the challenges. We need solutions that provide people with excellent support from partners, build an interest in food choices and diet and ultimately promote dignity, choice, control and resilience.

“The new Your Store will enable us to deliver those solutions and we are delighted to work alongside our partners to pilot the first Your Store in Charnwood.”

The store in Loughborough is a pilot scheme for a year and it is hoped Your Store will become self-sustaining over time through income from members shopping there, sponsorship and donations. Alongside the shop at John Storer House there are plans for a number of weekly pop-up versions across the borough.  Mountsorrel will be the first pop-up Your Store, which is being supported by Mountsorrel United Charities Relief in Need Fund.

Your Store aims to help around 300 households during the pilot project.

Your Store – how it will work

  • Your Store is a social supermarket based at John Storer House in Charnwood
  • The Charnwood Food Poverty Group will assess people currently using foodbanks and if suitable, offer them the opportunity to become members of Your Store
  • Each Your Store membership will give the member access to two weekly shops at Your Store. Each shop will be made up of a range of food items and will cost from £3, this will be around a quarter of the cost in a typical supermarket. Members will also be able to buy additional items such as cleaning, personal hygiene and baby products.
  • Each member will be given a personal support plan to help them with things like debt advice and support, budgeting, health and wellbeing, adult learning, employment support, cooking and volunteering opportunities
  • Your Store will be managed by John Storer and it is hoped Your Store members will also volunteer to become part of the team.
  • The food and goods on the Your Store shelves will come from a number of sources including FareShare, supermarket and community donations alongside food purchased through funding.
  • Your Store will also focus on reducing food waste both through FareShare deliveries and other initiatives.

Fareshare is the UK’s national network of charitable food redistributors, made up of 18 independent organisations. Together, they take good quality surplus food from across the food industry and get it to more than 10,500 frontline charities and community groups.