As a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, UK food banks have experienced an unprecedented increase in demand for their services.
Whilst lockdown proceedings begin to ease across the country, with non-essential businesses now reopen to the public, the need for food banks remains considerably high.
In an effort to alleviate the difficulties that are continuing to be faced by Merseyside families, Centre 63, a youth club and food provider based in Kirkby in Liverpool, has opened a new social supermarket in partnership with Feeding Britain.
The initiative will continue to provide members of the public with a source of affordable, nutritious food and wraparound support.
Centre 63 supported more than 2,000 families during lockdown by providing weekly food parcels that included fresh fruit and vegetables. This was a major operation that required a large team of volunteers.
As with similar operations across the Feeding Britain network, Centre 63 is keen to continue offering their support for people on low incomes.
However, the centre is aiming to provide the service on a more sustainable footing that prevents at least some of the growing need for emergency interventions.
The social supermarket will enable Kirkby residents to access a balanced and affordable range of fresh, chilled and ambient goods.
Ann Brown, project coordinator at Centre 63, said: “The social supermarket gives us a really good opportunity to continue supporting our community.
“The fact that people can choose their own food will help them through these tough times. Two volunteers have also been recruited to help run the shop each week. We are looking forward to working in partnership with Feeding Britain and we feel confident that our social supermarket will be a great success in Kirkby”.
Similar initiatives are already in operation across fourteen community centres in Birkenhead and Wallasey – where more than a thousand households access support each week – and will be introduced more widely across Merseyside in the months ahead.
Moreover, the Feeding Liverpool programme is rolling out a similar initiative with a cluster of food pantries.
Andrew Forsey, director of Feeding Britain, said: “We are privileged to be working alongside Centre 63 to improve people’s access to affordable nutritious food in their community.
“The development of this service is a key part of Feeding Britain’s strategy for addressing the social and economic consequences of Covid-19”.
If you would like to find out more information about the initiative, you can do so by visiting the Centre 63 website here.