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Community sets its store on helping each other

Posted on Wednesday 16th November 2022
Pictured at Heath Hayes Community Store are co-owners Vicky Davies, left and Lisa Wilson, centre, with Victoria Wilson, Staffordshire County Council's Cabinet member for Communities and Culture.

Pictured are Community Store co-owners Vicky Davies, left, and Lisa Wilson, centre, with Victoria Wilson, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities and Culture.

Two friends are helping scores of people in their community with subsidised food.

The Heath Hayes Community Store charges members £5 for a bag of food worth up to six times that.

Open twice weekly in the car park of the Five Ways Inn, around 50 to 60 of the group’s 2,000 members will visit each time.

Vicky Davies, who runs the Store with friend Lisa Wilson, said:

The shop offers a shopping experience for people who might not want to ask for help.

It allows them to come and shop and pick what they want and what they need, rather than being given a bag from another organisation which may include things they don’t need.

They can fill up a big bag of shopping for just £5 which can sometimes be worth £20-25, even £30 in some cases. This really helps people in our community to put food in their cupboards, put meals on the table and not go out of pocket.”

A few years ago, the pair launched a free food initiative in Heath Hayes using unsold supermarket produce, but the number of people using it declined quickly because of the embarrassment attached to queuing for free food.

This time the pair opened the small store and changed their approach slightly so people could contribute towards their shopping.

Vicky added:

There are a lot of different people who come, whether it’s once a month or weekly.

We know we are helping, particularly the people who come every week: we know it’s a massive service to them, that they really need this produce to get food in their fridge and meals on their tables for their families on a budget.”

Victoria Wilson, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities and Culture, is leading on the authority’s ‘Here to Help’ initiative, which is supporting residents through the difficult winter months.

Victoria visited the Community Store to see the work for herself and said:

This is a brilliant example of people working together to help their communities and I’m so impressed by what Vicky and Lisa are doing here and the way they’ve responded to people’s needs.”

She added:

Staffordshire County Council’s Here to Help initiative covers a wide range of subjects and the dedicated webpages are full of practical advice.”

Information is available at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/heretohelp and covers issues including managing debt, paying bills, food and essentials, staying warm and helping others.  Access to the online benefits checker and information on funded childcare are also available.

Information on council schemes to help people with the cost of living pressures, including the Pre-Loved School Uniform Market, is also available on the website, or by visiting a community help point, library or children’s centre.

*See more about the Community Store at Heath Hayes Community Store - YouTube

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