We aim to open a Social Supermarket in early summer 2022

The service, to be based on Hall Road, will help Norwich residents in several ways. The aim is to ensure everyone can access healthy food whatever their finances or experience.

It will do this by:

  • providing food free of charge from a Community Fridge for emergencies

  • cooking classes to help people build confidence and learn new skills

  • providing advice on recipes and cooking equipment

  • helping people budget for their food

  • hiring out the kitchen facilities for community cooking events

The supermarket will also combat food waste by working with local suppliers to redistribute their surplus.

What is a Social Supermarket?

A Social Supermarket is a new way of shopping, offering a wide range of affordable groceries to help people eat healthily. This brings together food that larger supermarkets might not sell, such as items with minimal damage to packaging or past their best before date (never their use by date). The priority is helping the community - not profit.

What's the background to this?

In 2020, just after the first lockdown, we launched a Community Fridge from our Prince of Wales Road cafe. Its aim was to distribute waste food to people who had been impacted by Covid and were struggling to afford to buy food and feed their families. The fridge has stayed open since then and is largely distributing food that would have otherwise gone to waste. 

In 2021, we had 5200 visits to the fridge, and we gave away 26,500kg of food.  

We recognise the need to do more and our Prince of Wales Road base isn't large enough hence securing the Hall Road venue.

So what will happen at Hall Road?

We envisage that the Hall Road premises will become a real community hub, where people will feel welcome and a sense of community, belonging and ownership. It will be developed by involving individuals and groups from within the local community.

Here are some of the services it will offer:

  • Helping people to cope with the rising costs of living

People can join for free and become 'members' They can shop in the supermarket to purchase food, hygiene and cleaning products at significantly reduced prices. It will offer people stability of budgeting and security in the knowledge that if an unexpected crisis does happen, they will be able to eat. It promotes dignity and gives people choice.  The supermarket is stocked with surplus food purchased via the food redistribution charity, Fareshare and other organisations. We aim to work with local farmers and local food manufacturers for food that is close to the expiration date and surplus or unwanted (wonky!) vegetables and products. We also aim to work with local allotment growers & organisations. Our aim is to provide access to a wide range of food. 

  • Helping people to move out of food poverty 

Members will be supported, where relevant, to access local services to help them to move forward out of food insecurity. This could be budgeting skills for example or employability support (including our own employability services) and information about accessing training or further education.

  • Cooking skills

We will also support people with workshops and courses run in the Community Kitchen, helping people to learn how to create tasty, healthy, good value meals.

Help us to get started

Supporters can get involved right away. We need:

  • Volunteers to help run this service

  • Local food suppliers willing to provide food on a regular basis

  • Donations of cooking equipment (including white goods, storage, pots, pans, anything in a usable state!)

  • Local residents familiar with these issues who’d like to work with us to shape this project through our community consultation group

  • Partner organisations to provide support with issues related to food poverty such as money, housing, employment and more.

Contact andrea@thefeed.org.uk if you can help with any of these or if you would like to learn more.

We are a member of the Nourishing Norfolk Network, led by Norfolk Community Foundation and working together to alleviate food poverty through affordable provision.

You have helped me find my inner smile that had been buried for safety. I now just want to continue to shine.
Bloom project participant

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