Essex County Council has commissioned three community supermarkets as part of their levelling-up policy, which aims to bring equity and reduce inequalities in various aspects of people’s lives.
Located in Greenstead, Canvey Island and Castle Point, the project aims for a more sustainable and dignified way to provide food and dietary support to people in need.
The supermarkets will not hand out produce for free but at a lower price than offered by supermarkets.
Contributing to the project in Greenstead are Colchester foodbank, Greenstead Community Centre and Active Essex, who will work alongside the supermarket to offer support.
The money received at the store through the sale of produce will be used as a direct reinvestment for new products.
Elizabeth Alake-Akinyemi, leader of the supermarket, said: “Even though we have secured some funding, we want this to be able to continue and be a community investment.”
“We’ll be looking at a lot of charitable wholesalers and shops, local businesses and those that are willing to support us, sourcing from everywhere to get the best value for money.
“We are really looking to create a hub where people can come not only to buy food but to socialise, to connect and to find help.”
Next to the supermarket, cooking classes will help residents use the supermarket to maintain healthy diets and use produce in a sustainable way.
Once the contract for the council building in Hawthorne Avenue has been signed, the project will work towards the supermarket opening at the end of the year.
Natalie Sommers, Colchester Council portfolio holder for communities, said: ”Community supermarkets are essential for building stronger, more resilient communities.
“They provide affordable food and household essentials to those who need it most, while also creating a place where people can meet and access support services.
“We are proud to support the opening of a community supermarket in Greenstead, which will make a real difference in the lives of our residents at a time when the cost of living is rising.”
Louise McKinlay, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Levelling Up and the Economy, said: “The community supermarket programme forms an important part of our Levelling Up ambitions, as we work to support communities at a time when people’s finances may be coming under increasing pressure.
“Our stores, whether mobile, a shop or a pop-up within a community facility all work to provide the same vital community hub that not only provides low-cost food, but also a warm friendly welcome and access to information on other services that can provide help and support if needed.”