Community Shop, West Norwood: Using surplus food for a social purpose

It was a pleasure to be invited this morning to the opening of the UK’s first full scale ‘social supermarket’. Called the Community Shop, it opened today in Vale Street in West Norwood.

Community Shop in West Norwood

Community Shop in West Norwood

The shop will offer heavily discounted food to 700 members facing financial hardship, in receipt of certain benefits like Income Support. The shop will sell surplus food that would otherwise go to waste.

This isn’t about giving people food that it is old or past it’s self by date. It is estimated that around 3.5 million tonnes of food is wasted every year in the UK before it even reaches people’s shopping basket, even though about 10% of that would be good enough to eat – this is simply because its packaging has been damaged or mislabelled. In other cases, food has simply been over-ordered.

Not only will members be able to buy food at a discounted price, they will be offered other help and support, such as with getting back into work or with debt.

It’s a fantastic project and I’m really pleased that Community Shop decided to pick Lambeth for their first location and that we were able to help them secure a venue.

You can find out more about the Community Shop here.


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