Countryside supports Barking & Dagenham’s first community food club
A community food club in Barking and Dagenham, supported by Countryside, has been launched, to provide discounted food for local residents who are struggling financially.
Based in the William Bellamy Children’s Centre - a short walk from Countryside’s Trinity Place development - the community supermarket offers not only discounted produce, but also educational classes and activities, including services that enable residents to make positive changes to their lives.
Countryside helped to kickstart the project, by providing the supermarket with equipment to store the food, including two new fridges. This has allowed up to 50 residents from Heath Ward, Barking and Dagenham, to benefit from the scheme already, with more to follow in subsequent months. The food club has been supported by Sainsbury’s and FareShare, who supply the surplus products for the supermarket.
Heath Ward is one of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Barking and Dagenham. Families that are accepted for a short period as members pay £3.50 per visit to shop for up to £20 worth of goods, and obtain money advice and a whole range of services to help them out of poverty.
Countryside is also supporting the community garden at the centre, in early spring allowing members to learn how to grow their own food and vegetables, which will support the community food hub.
Paul Sweeney, Communities and Customer Services Director, Partnerships South, Countryside, said: “Countryside is delighted to support such a fantastic community scheme, which goes beyond being just a supermarket. The classes and activities on offer play a huge role in combatting social isolation and allow local residents to break the cycle of deprivation and change their lives.
“We want to help local people to enhance their lives. That commitment goes way beyond just building new homes and extends to making a far-reaching difference to the area and its residents through initiatives such as this food club.
“We’re so grateful to all the staff and volunteers whose hard work is making this project a success, and we’re looking forward to seeing the club grow.”