Pyramids Shopping Centre chosen for Feeding Britain’s first UK outlet
A community café and ‘citizens’ supermarket’ is coming to Birkenhead as Pyramids Shopping Centre partners with the charity, Feeding Birkenhead, which was set up by the town’s MP Frank Field as part of the Feeding Britain network that aims to eliminate hunger in the UK.
Work has started on the build at 7 Princes Pavement in Pyramids Shopping Centre, which will be a membership-based, non-profit food shop and café. It will focus on the provision of good quality surplus food for people in Birkenhead who are struggling to pay the bills.
Local charities and community groups will also be on hand at ‘Number 7’ – as the café and supermarket will be called – to provide a range of supportive services including welfare rights, debt advice, help looking for work, as well as budgeting support and cooking sessions. Membership for the citizens’ supermarket will be by referral from one of Feeding Birkenhead’s partners, such as housing and healthcare organisations.
Food suppliers, including Kellogg’s and Brakes will donate food supplies to help stock Number 7 when it opens in September. Membership for shoppers will be for six months initially, with the option to extend if further support is needed. Access to the café and community support services will be available to all.
“Feeding Birkenhead has pioneered a whole series of projects in favour of hard-up families,” Frank said. “Thousands of children have benefitted from our programme of meals and activities during the holidays, for example, as well as school breakfasts during term time.
“Likewise, the addition of fuel and benefits advice at the food bank has pulled thousands of people back from the brink of destitution. The citizens’ supermarket takes Feeding Birkenhead well and truly into the next phase of our work to ensure more families are able to eat good meals and to address those problems, such as debt, that make it difficult to pay the bills each month.
“Here’s another first from Feeding Birkenhead, with its campaigns that are always about helping people now, while removing the injustice which has given rise to their plight,” added Frank.
Allan Beaumont, operations manager at Pyramids Shopping Centre, added that Number 7 is a vital support service for the town. “With the pressures of escalating living costs affecting communities everywhere, Pyramids Shopping Centre is incredibly proud to be working with Feeding Birkenhead and its wider network to provide an outlet for individuals and families in our town who need assistance in accessing affordable food.
“This is a significant addition to the centre as it will be a life line to many and will enable members to make huge steps in turning their situation around. Number 7 will offer hope and the power of this is immeasurable,” said Allan. “In difficult times it can be overwhelming to know where to seek help and a kind, understanding ear, so it’s a privilege for Pyramids to be part of peoples’ solution.”
Rosie Oglesby, national director at Feeding Britain, explained that the project aims to support people by providing breathing space during which they can access nutritious food at subsidised prices in a warm and welcoming environment. “Citizens’ supermarkets are run by the community and are there to support people at a point when they need a bit of extra help to get through a difficult time,” she said.
“We think they have a huge potential to reduce the number of people falling into hunger and food poverty, and to do so in a dignified way without stigma,” Rosie added. “Birkenhead will be the first shop operated by Feeding Britain, and we hope to expand it to other areas of the country in the next few months.”
Feeding Birkenhead will be recruiting paid staff members, as well as a number of volunteers for the running of the shop, café and offering community support. For further information on how to apply, donate or help with fundraising, please visit www.feedingbritain.org. Any businesses wishing to contribute to funding, food or other skills or supplies, can also get in touch via the Feeding Britain website or via Twitter at @Feeding_Britain.
More news, events and offers can be found on the Pyramids Shopping Centre website at www.pyramidsbirkenhead.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pyramidsshoppingcentre and Twitter at www.twitter.com/PyramidsSC.
About Number 7: A citizens’ supermarket for Birkenhead
Number 7 will operate as part of the ‘Feeding Britain’ network and will be steered locally by Feeding Birkenhead.
Feeding Birkenhead is a coalition of local charities, community groups and social enterprises working to combat hunger in the town. The Steering Group includes Neo Community Café, North Birkenhead Development Trust, Citizens Advice, Wirral Food Bank, Involve Northwest, Magenta Homes, Wirral Council and Bob’s Place.
The Citizens’ Supermarket has benefitted from donations of both revenue and capital funds, and these will be used to support its initial setup and transition to long-term sustainability. Donors include: the Johnson Foundation, Magenta Housing, Steve Morgan Foundation, Commutual, the Bibby Foundation, Medicash, Onward Homes and Prima Group. Feeding Britain is also supported by the Goldsmiths’ Company Charity.
A number of local businesses have contributed in kind support, including Pyramids Shopping Centre which has offered the premises on a rent-free basis. Cammell Laird is carrying out the shop refurbishment on non-profit basis and Bermans Solicitors is providing pro bono legal services. Marks & Spencer and Iceland have donated equipment including supermarket shelving and refrigerators, and Tesco has provided technical advice on supermarket systems.