At the beginning of the lockdown in March 2020, the Message Trust - based in Manchester - delivered 60,000 meals and food parcels to people in their local area. However, when lockdown lifted they recognised that the problem didn’t go away, if anything it was getting worse. This is when the idea of a ‘Community Grocery’ was born. It is packed with good quality food for a great and affordable price. People sign up for a £5 annual fee which gives them access to two weekly shops for £3 each. The food is supplied by supermarkets and local agencies and then redistributed by the community grocery.
We are in the process of securing a property for rent in Bedworth town centre, because we are passionate about placing ourselves in the heart of the community. This means the community grocery will be easily accessible and welcoming to all who are struggling with food poverty at any level. By moving our project into a shop that will be fitted and cared for like any other shop/high quality facility, it removes the stigma and hopefully allows us to reach more people in a holistic way. The main project alongside the grocery will be a modern coffee shop and a gift/arts shop, but there will also be space for things such as; a games room, 1-2-1 meetings/pastoral care, job workshops, careers advice, mental wellbeing, CV writing, computer literacy courses, money/debt management, healthy cooking classes etc.
Another exciting partnership revolves around ‘HelloFresh’ donating 1800 food boxes a year, once the community grocery is established. HelloFresh provides meal kits that are ready to cook and prepare. The boxes contain fresh food and are always of a very high quality!