After the resounding success of the community shop in Goldthorpe, new openings are scheduled across the UK.
The community shop in Goldthorpe looks no different to most shops in the UK. With branded goods, fresh meat and other household products on display the only real difference is at the checkout where all prices are at least 50% discounted. These low prices are made possible because the shop sells surplus food donated from big supermarkets such as Tesco and Waitroes, food that would otherwise be taken to landfill.
John Marren, chairman of Company Shop, the scheme that runs the community shop, said: “Community Shop is tackling the problem of surplus food, whilst giving it real social purpose.”
Around 3.5m tonnes of food is wasted each year in the UK and about 10 per cent is good enough to be eaten.
The Goldthorpe branch was the pilot scheme of a new way to elevate the pressure on foodbanks and local charities. Instead of customers this shop has members, in order to become a member you must first live locally and be on income support.
As well as offering cheap food, the shop also has training courses geared at getting people into work. Even the onsite cafe is run by members training to be chefs. One in five of this store’s 500 members who completed their training are in work.
Michelle Griffin, HR manager at ABP Doncaster, said: “The Community Shop training lasts six months and really helps local unemployed people to gain new skills in a wealth of areas; including CV writing, interview training and sector specific training. We’re working alongside the initiative and Barnsley College to encourage local people struggling to find work to get involved and take the first steps to what could be a fantastic new career.”
After the resounding success of the pilot scheme a new shop has opened up in West Norwood on the 15th of december. 20 more openings are scheduled across the UK with aims to help as many as 20,000 people.
The rise of the community shop in Goldthorpe can be attributed to the downward economic trend the area has seen in recent years.
Goldthorpe has been an official EU poverty zone for many years now and many locals are feeling the effects of austerity.
With increased pressure on foodbanks and local charities, projects like the community shop are going far to alleviate the poverty in Goldthorpe. According the the Trussell Trust over 900,000 people used foodbanks in the year 2013-2014, and increase from the previous year; 346,992. The three top primary referral causes being, benefit delays, low income and benefit changes.
Austerity measures such as, benefit sanctions, benefit caps and the bedroom tax has resulted in many people in Goldthorpe not being able to afford the basic necessities, turning them to local foodbanks and charities.