Peacehaven Community Supermarket launches second location in Newhaven
A community supermarket which has been running in Peacehaven for eight weeks has now launched at a second location in Newhaven.
It will be held at the Denton Island Community Centre in Newhaven on Mondays from 11am to 3pm, and will continue at Kempton House in Peacehaven on Thursdays, also from 11am to 3pm.
Stef Lake from the Sussex Community Development Association said feedback for the initiative had been ‘really good’ so far.
During the pandemic, the team had been delivering emergency food parcels to people’s homes – around 200 parcels across both towns.
But Stef said: “We really wanted, as soon as it was possible, to move to a more sustainable approach.”
A key feature of the community supermarket is that people can come in and choose what they want, giving them ‘some agency’ over what they take home.
People pay on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis.
“It’s a really big difference to being handed a bag of food you may or may not enjoy,” Stef said.
Food parcels might contain too much food, or food that people do not know how to cook with.
There are currently 50 members on the books for the supermarket in Peacehaven.
The flexible model means people can come as often as they like – with some coming every week, and others perhaps once a month while they are waiting to get paid.
Initially existing foodbank clients were referred, but a self-referral model has now been introduced so that anyone from the community can sign up as a member.
And unlike foodbanks, there is no eligibility criteria people need to meet in order to join.
“That means that if someone who is coming is able to contribute a little bit more, they can pay it forward for the people who aren’t able to pay,” Stef said.
One of the main barriers is people feeling worried about not being able to pay.
“We do a lot of work around reassuring people to only start contributing once you feel like you are in a really secure position to be able to do that.”
The food is obtained from a variety of sources, with the bulk coming from Fareshare Sussex.
Stef said there was always a good range of products on offer, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, and people can also pick up toiletries thanks to support from the charity Beauty Banks.
A community kitchen onsite makes healthy meals divided and frozen into individual portions for people to take home.
The kitchen has also started providing freshly baked goods – this week cheese scones and blueberry muffins were on offer.
“Foodbanks tend to be very utilitarian,” said Stef. “This is much more like comfort food. We want to provide good quality stuff, so that people feel really valued.”
A team of eight enthusiastic volunteers, who come from the community they serve, work at each centre.
Stef said this was important and helped ‘blur the lines’ between volunteers, staff and service users.
Creating a community environment after a year of social restrictions has been a welcome change, Stef said.
“It’s really nice to see people in real-life, rather than them just being names on a spreadsheet.”
Anyone who wants to become a member of either community supermarket should call 01273 516032.
People can find more information at www.sussexcommunity.org.uk or on Facebook at @seahavenfood