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Social supermarket aims to tackle food poverty in South Yorkshire

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Britain’s cheapest supermarket is set to open in South Yorkshire – but only for 500 specially selected customers.

Items at the Community Shop, Goldthorpe, will be a third of normal prices, with stock supplied from major chains such as Asda, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons which would otherwise be thrown away.

The UK’s first ‘social supermarket’, which opens on Monday, has been set up as a pilot scheme to help hard-up families.

All of its 500 customers will have to be on a specified list of benefits and will initially be given membership for six months.

Sarah Dunwell, organiser, said the aim was to launch 20 more stores nationwide next year, including six in London.

She said: “We are aiming to fill a gap between food banks and mainstream retail. Lots of families are not in such an emergency situation, but are on the cusp of food poverty.

“It is for anyone who is claiming any of a list of benefits. It’s not just about the long-term unemployed but hard-working families who are struggling.

“It’s more than about just cheap food. We offer a full package of support with a cafe, a cookery school and support for people who need advice on payday lending, alcohol and domestic violence among other things.”

The supermarket will not sell alcohol or tobacco, but will use products rejected by stores for a variety of reasons, including damaged packaging or the wrong labelling.

Sarah said: “We’ll have staples such as pasta and rice, but also more expensive goods such as French cheeses, desserts and household products.

“This is not cheap food for the poor, rather it will bring a range of foods. It takes stuff that will not make it to supermarket shelves and uses it to feed people who need it most.

“While we have people in the UK going hungry, it is wrong such foods should be thrown away.”

Leaflets publicising the scheme have been delivered to homes in Goldthorpe, which is being targeted as an area of serious poverty.

 

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