A new cut-price grocery store has opened inside Lincoln Central Methodist Church on the lower High Street to help tackle food poverty in the area and provide easier access to essential goods.
The Lincoln Community Grocery opened on Tuesday, October 5 in partnership with Alive Church Lincoln, Acts Trust and The Message Trust, and was designed to help people in the city who are struggling financially to cut the cost of a weekly food shop.
For just a £5 membership for the whole year, people can shop up to three times a week with a set selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, tinned goods, frozen foods and more available from the shelves.
Each shop costs just £3 and customers get access to one loaf of bread, five portions of fruit and veg, five box and canned items, two frozen items, two mix and match items and one non-food item. The community grocery estimates that it will save people up to £30 on each weekly shop.
There was a large turnout at Central Methodist Church for the opening on Tuesday, as over 50 members signed up in the first morning and up to 300 could be eventually expected to sign up.
The goods come from surplus stock from supermarkets that would only end up going to landfill, meaning it is environmentally beneficial as well as helping people on the breadline financially.
Simon Hawking is the chief executive of Acts Trust, who have been running the Lincoln food bank for 13 years, and said that the charity had to be proactive in tackling poverty in the area.
He told The Lincolnite: “In an ideal world Lincoln would not require food banks, but sadly we do and it is our job to provide a service for people and help them however we can.
“The supermarket environment offers people a choice of what they want, which in itself can give people that bit more dignity when they come here.
“Lincolnshire is the bread basket of the country, yet we still have food poverty, it doesn’t add up.
“This was all about reclaiming some of the wonderful produce we produce here in the county and helping out our local residents.”
Simon also mentioned the importance of various services that will help members tackle the root cause of poverty, including life skills, employment clubs and mental wellbeing help.
He continues: “This has been our vision since 2017 but the COVID-19 pandemic meant we had to put on the brakes.
“The pandemic has, if anything, highlighted how on the edge people can be financially, so many more people have struggled as a result of the lockdowns.
“We want this place to help build people’s resilience in the fight against poverty, it is a safe haven for anyone to come free of judgement.
“I have to stress that this is not a replacement for food banks, we will keep those going for as long as they are needed, this is just an opportunity for us to be proactive as we attempt to help people out of poverty.”
The Lincoln Community Grocery will be open between 9.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday at Central Methodist Church on Lincoln High Street.