In July we’re opening our second social supermarket in Bradford: twenty two Shaw House, at the ‘top of town’. This is part of our long-term strategy to tackle food poverty across Bradford, and to reduce reliance on foodbanks and free food provision.
The Storehouse, our ‘wholesale’ food hub, opened five years ago and distributes food and meals to community groups across Bradford to support their work. From the Storehouse we have been providing community mini markets across the city to enable people to shop for fresh fruit and vegetables at a price they can afford.
We’re now opening twenty two Shaw House to build on the strengths of our mini markets and provide an affordable city centre source of fresh and long-life food on any budget. Access will be by membership, with members referred by In Communities, Housing Options or a range of other agencies. It will also be possible for individuals to self-refer.
Members will gain a discount of up to two-thirds on their weekly food shopping, compared with what they would pay in regular supermarkets. They will also get unique access to our Jamie’s Ministry of Food cookery classes, and free hot meals during school holidays as part of the Healthy Holidays scheme.
We will also be drawing on our partners’ expertise to offer extended advice and support to our members, particularly around welfare support, budgeting and money management, with three agencies already signed up to offer drop-in sessions.
Affordable food and rescued surplus
As with the existing work of our Food Hub, most of our food will come from intercepting and redistributing surplus stock from retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, including national charity FareShare, meaning we can offer a wide range of high quality fresh, chilled, frozen and ambient food to members. In the past two years alone we have saved over 500 tonnes of food that would otherwise have gone to waste.
Whilst it won’t be opening straight away, we’re also planning to open a second community café and cooking school on the same site as twenty two Shaw House. Jude’s Urban Kitchen will be open to all for an affordable bite to eat and socialising.
Community champions and employment
Like all of our work, a small number of paid workers will be supported in running the supermarket by a larger number of volunteers. We have a robust volunteer training programme and a large pool of existing volunteers, but we are also looking at this as an opportunity to take an active role in improving job prospects in the community through training, building confidence and experience in a professional work environment. We have already taken on two former volunteers as paid workers to staff the project.
Once the supermarket is up and running, we will be training ten community champions to support their local area with home delivery for the housebound, and cookery classes, helping to train local communities in practical skills and nutritional expertise.
Plans are also underway to support three or four more social supermarkets across the district in the coming year.