THE CORROSIVE NATURE OF POVERTY
The psychological cost of food poverty is huge. It undermines the core of people and they feel they have no control over their lives. They feel ashamed. We learned from TimeBuilders that people aren’t just hungry for food. They are hungry to contribute and earn their way. They are hungry for friendships and community. This is what the Social Supermarket does.
People join the social supermarket for a membership fee of £3/ week. They can then choose at least 20 items of food from our shop including fresh fruit and vegetables. Careful thought has been given to the physical design and layout of the shop to make it an inviting and welcoming space. A level of payment and choice is an important step in people feeling some control in this most basic need. It enables them to start to build their own foundation.
Our (socially distanced) community café is free for members. It is a great place for people to get a healthy meal, meet others and find out what else they can do. The cafe also creates volunteer opportunities for members to run the front of house or to help our chef Merys in the kitchen - baking cakes, cooking meals and helping to wash up and keep the kitchen clean
The social supermarket is based on the key principles of the TimeBuilders project: that people do not want to be recipients of other people’s charity. They want to do something meaningful with their lives and to feel that they have control again. There are loads of opportunities in the Social Supermarket for people to help, to guide decisions and to bring their own strengths and abilities to to the table. This participation is the fastest way of building people’s confidence and capability.
Learning something new gives you confidence that you can change the world around you. So we are developing a range of courses and classes which give members the chance to learn some cooking, confidence building and jewellery making. Working in small groups gives people a natural way to form relationships whilst they are learning. We are also developing a coaching programme to help people reflect on the strengths and choices that they can use in their lives.