Com­mu­nity su­per­mar­ket set to tackle food poverty

Warwickshire Telegraph - - NEWS - By FIONNULA HAINEY

A COM­MU­NITY su­per­mar­ket, which aims to tackle food poverty by re­duc­ing the need for food­banks, is open­ing in Coven­try.

The new shop, which will sell heav­ily dis­counted food to Coven­try’s poor­est fam­i­lies, will open at the Foleshill Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

Sev­eral or­gan­i­sa­tions are be­lieved to have made a bid to the city coun­cil to take over the lease of the cen­tre, which has stood empty for a num­ber of years.

The coun­cil an­nounced in Septem­ber that Feed­ing Coven­try, a char­ity work­ing to tackle hunger in the city, would take on the cen­tre.

The Tele­graph has con­tacted the char­ity to ask when it will open, but the date has not yet been con­firmed. Plans for the com­mu­nity su­per­mar­ket were first re­vealed in May this year when Feed­ing Coven­try trustee Gavin Kib­ble ex­plained the think­ing be­hind the idea to tackle food poverty.

He said that the scheme would re­duce the de­mand on food­banks in the city by sup­port­ing peo­ple through the is­sues that lead to their use.

The char­ity also re­vealed that a to­tal of £250,000 of fund­ing from the Na­tional Lot­tery had been se­cured for the project.

Coven­try was se­lected as one of three cities that will pi­lot the scheme by the na­tional food poverty char­ity Feed­ing Bri­tain.

The fam­i­lies most in need in Coven­try will be able to sign up for mem­ber­ship to the com­mu­nity su­per­mar­ket.

Those signed up can then buy food at ap­prox­i­mately a third of the price they would in a nor­mal su­per­mar­ket.

As well as of­fer­ing dis­counted food, a ded­i­cated team will be on hand to sup­port mem­bers through times of hard­ship and work within the com­mu­nity to re­solve the is­sues sur­round­ing food poverty.

Speak­ing in May, Gavin ex­plained: “Food­banks deal with the con­se­quences of food poverty rather than the causes.

“There’s al­ways some­thing that goes wrong in some­one’s life that re­sults in them need­ing the food­bank - low in­come, per­haps their ben­e­fits are de­layed or they have been sanc­tioned for not turn­ing up the job cen­tre on time.

“The ba­sic premise be­hind a com­mu­nity su­per­mar­ket is to of­fer ei­ther free or deeply dis­counted food. It’s dif­fer­ent to a food­bank be­cause they deal with emer­gency pro­vi­sion.

“This is the next step up - it’s about de­pen­dence sup­port and build­ing wrap-around in­ter­ven­tions.

The doors to Foleshill Com­mu­nity Cen­tre were shut in March 2015 with Coven­try City Coun­cil claim­ing that it was no longer eco­nom­i­cally vi­able to run.

Since then, the former bingo hall, judo club and a Fri­day prayer group has been left empty, de­spite con­tin­ued in­ter­est from a large num­ber of par­ties.

Pre­vi­ously, a man had been liv­ing at the cen­tre as a guardian to keep the to prop­erty se­cure. Un­der a new agree­ment, Feed­ing Coven­try will take on re­spon­si­bil­ity for man­age­ment and re­pairs of the build­ing and pay a pep­per­corn rent to the city coun­cil.

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