Community Shop celebrates 10 years as the UK’s first social supermarket, changing lives through surplus food
Multi award-winning social enterprise and Cold Chain Federation member Community Shop, is marking a decade of transforming lives through surplus food, as it reveals the true impact of its unique food access model.
As the UK’s first social supermarket chain, Community Shop originated in South Yorkshire with aim of delivering affordable, dignified, and sustainable food aid for individuals and families living on the cusp of food poverty.
A decade on, Community Shop is generating positive, lasting change in 12 of the UK’s most deprived communities. By providing thousands of people with access to high-quality, low-cost food, and life-changing personal development support, Community Shop is building stronger individuals, and more confident communities.
Over the last ten years Community Shop has supported 61,498 families, created the equivalent of more than 30.4 million meals and saved its members – who receive welfare support – a collective £51.7m on their shopping. More than 200 industry partners have played a significant role through generous funding and surplus stock donations.
Within its Community Hubs, it has delivered 174,548 personal development programmes, working closely with more than 800 local partners. As a result, 2,453 members have gained new skills and qualifications, and 2,510 members have returned to work. In the Community Kitchens, alongside being a place to learn new cooking skills and build relationships with food, 809,157 children have eaten for free, and more than 10,000 Christmas dinners have been served, bringing communities together.
In conjunction with its parent organisation, Company Shop Group, Community Shop will be using its 10th anniversary year to share its expertise and learnings with the sector as it leads the way in transforming and reframing the way food aid is accessed and delivered for the better.
To kick-start this work, the Group hosted a reception event which welcomed major players and supporters across retail, manufacturing, social policy and academia. Alongside words from the BRC’s CEO Helen Dickinson, John Marren MBE DL as Founder and Ainsley Harriott who praised Community Shop’s work, guests also heard a powerful member story, demonstrating first-hand the life-changing impact that Community Shop’s sustained, person-centred support has.
A clear focus of the evening was Community Shop’s high ambitions for the future, as it looks to support even more communities with more stores, and welcome new and continued partnerships with businesses wanting to do something wholly positive and sustainable with their surplus. This will be supported by continued insight sharing and a series of food festivals throughout the year.
Gary Stott, Executive Chairman at Community Shop, said:
“I am incredibly proud of Community Shop’s journey and all that we have accomplished over the past decade, having made a bold and brave decision to do something very different to what had been done before.
“We know the need for Community Shop’s work is stronger than ever, and there is much more to do. Alongside our partners and supporters, we remain as committed as we did on day one to constantly transforming what affordable and dignified food access looks like and we will be continuing our efforts to bring more of our Community Shops to many more families across the UK who need them most.
“We have a huge amount of thanks to give to everyone who has supported us during the last 10 years, including our supporters, our generous industry partners, and the communities we’re so proud to work in. But most importantly we thank our incredible Community Shop colleagues and members who work alongside us every day to deliver such transformative impact.”
Owen McLellan, Managing Director at Company Shop Group, said:
“It is a real honour to be marking and celebrating the incredible impact that Community Shop has achieved since 2013. It is reflective of the hard-work of our colleagues, and the immense goodwill and commitment of the wider industry to combatting food waste and food poverty in a sustainable and community-led way.
“The fact that we have delivered ongoing and life-changing support to over 60,000 families demonstrates the true scale of what can be achieved when the industry comes together to realise the full potential of surplus redistribution.
“We have high ambitions for the years ahead and we hope to work with even more businesses and organisations as we bring our mission of building stronger individuals and more confident communities through surplus to life.”
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