Duke and Duchess of Sussex open citizens’ supermarket at Pyramids Shopping Centre
Royal visit happened today
Today, Pyramids Shopping Centre welcomed the arrival of Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex who officially opened the Number 7 subsidised café and supermarket, which has been set up in partnership with local MP Frank Field’s charitable organisation, Feeding Birkenhead.
As part of their first visit to Merseyside as a couple, Prince Harry and Meghan were at Pyramids from 11.40am until 12.20pm to meet with the shopping centre’s director, Derek Millar, Frank Field and the team at Number 7.
The collaboration between Pyramids and Feeding Birkenhead to bring a membership-based, non-profit food shop and café to help local people at risk of hunger has been five years in the making. The initiative is part of the wider Feeding Britain network, which aims to eliminate hunger in the UK.
Birkenhead-based shipbuilder, Cammell Laird began refurbishing the 903m sq. unit at 7 Princes Pavement completely free of charge in spring 2018. The café opened its doors in November and has been extremely well received by the community. The supermarket completed just before Christmas and has been enjoying a successful few weeks.
“Working with Frank Field on this pioneering service is one of the most important projects I’ve been involved with in my career,” said Derek Millar, Centre Director at Pyramids Shopping Centre. “What Feeding Birkenhead, Cammell Laird, Pyramids and all the other stakeholders and individuals have contributed in terms of time, funding, supplies, support – the list goes on – is something we are all immensely proud of.
“We are honoured to have had this phenomenal opportunity to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to Pyramids Shopping Centre and to share our story with them is truly amazing,” said Derek. “The Royal Visit to the Wirral alone is wonderful for the region but to have the spotlight on Number 7 has provided an unprecedented platform for us all to show a huge audience what we’re doing to help regenerate Birkenhead.
“We are grateful beyond words that Harry and Meghan have recognised our efforts and commitment to helping change the lives of vulnerable people,” Derek added. “Their backing will certainly encourage other leaders around the UK to see how they too can bring something similar to their communities.”
Frank Field commented: “I am absolutely thrilled that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex graciously accepted my invitation to visit Birkenhead. Number 7 aims to be at the cutting edge of fighting poverty in the town and it will be a moment to treasure – for our customers, staff, volunteers, and supporters – to have the royal couple officially launch the project.
“Likewise, Her Royal Highness will issue the first of Feeding Birkenhead’s baby boxes so that a young mum can be as proud in taking her baby to appointments as other mums who are more fortunately placed,” said Frank.
Number 7 focuses on the provision of good quality surplus food for people in Birkenhead who have difficulty paying the bills. Membership for the citizens’ supermarket will be by referral from one of Feeding Birkenhead’s partners, such as housing and healthcare organisations and are for six months initially, with the option to extend if further support is needed. Access to the café and community support services are available to all.
Suppliers including Kellogg’s and Brake have been keeping the shelves stocked. Additional services will see local charities and community groups providing a range of supportive services including welfare rights, debt advice, help looking for work, as well as budgeting support and cooking workshops.
For further information on how to volunteer at Number 7, 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.