Social supermarket opening for people struggling with rising costs

Lucy Parish, chief executive officer of The Feed in Norwich

Lucy Parish, chief executive officer of The Feed in Norwich - Credit: The Feed

A supermarket with a difference will be opening next year to help people struggling with rising living costs.

The community hub, which will sell fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy and pre-prepared food at affordable prices, will open in March next year in what used to be Pat's Cafe in Hall Road, Norwich.

It is the idea of The Feed, a not-for-profit social enterprise which already has a cafe at Norwich University of the Arts, within Waterloo Park, in Prince of Wales Road and at Bowthorpe's Kettle Foods Factory.

Proceeds from these enterprises then fund projects to help vulnerable people.

The team at the newly opened Waterloo Park Pavillion Café. From left, chef Tracy Davis, Tammy Jarvis

The team at the newly opened Waterloo Park Pavillion Café. From left, chef Tracy Davis, Tammy Jarvis, Gemma Harvey-O'Connell, Kate Weeds, David Rickenback, Esma Hewitt, and Tom Jordan. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Lucy Parish, chief executive officer of The Feed, said: "It will be a dignified food support service that provides routes into other support services to prevent the need for emergency food provision. In the long term we will receive referrals from food banks where people can access food and support services."

This includes advice on people struggling with debt, employment and budgeting and it is hoped this help can help people out of financial problems.

Mrs Parish added: "Norwich is quite an affluent area but it also has extreme inequalities of division where people live in deprived areas. People are struggling to afford the price of food. The prices of everything have gone up and we are seeing first hand the impact of that.

"We have seen an increase in demand in general since Covid."

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This is because of a range of factors including people losing their jobs or going on furlough.

She said the supermarket, mostly to be run by volunteers, would be a welcoming experience for people.

It will be run through a membership scheme where people pay a certain amount to join and it is hoped shoppers can move on once they have become more financially stable.

Mrs Parish said people who were struggling varied but included families and people starting out in a new home.

It is being supported by Norwich City Council and it is hoped it will become self-funding.

The Feed wants to work with local manufacturers, producers and farmers as well as setting up a volunteer steering group.

If anyone wants to get involved email chris@thefeed.org.uk