Grocery store offering low-cost produce opened at the Evelyn Community Centre, Deptford

A new grocery store offering low-cost produce officially opened at the Evelyn Community Centre in Deptford last week.

Created to support residents from the Evelyn estate on low incomes, the store operates on a membership basis at a cost of £3.50 a week.

In return its 40 members are provided with approximately £30 worth of high-quality food and groceries.

The scheme, which is funded by Travis Perkins Managed Services, was set up as a partnership between the Evelyn Tenants and Residents Association (TRA), social housing provider Lewisham Homes and food waste charity FareShare. It’s currently staffed by 15 volunteers from the local community.

For the opening event the store organisers arranged free activities for the families, including face painting, a ball pit, a bouncy castle and back massages.

The event was attended by local councillors and stakeholders, including Cllr Jonathan Slater, as well as Lewisham Homes chief executive Margaret Dodwell and Lewisham Homes board chairman Ainsley Forbes.

Alys Exley-Smith, community relations manager at Lewisham Homes, said: “It’s great to see so many people who’ve come to celebrate the opening of the community store.

Though it’s unfortunate that something like this has to exist, we’re grateful that we’re able to provide the residents of the Evelyn estate with affordable and healthy food options.

“Thank you to the Evelyn TRA and everybody involved in making this a possibility, and for making today’s event such a success.”

Natasha Ricketts, one of the store’s co-ordinators, said: “It was fantastic to be able to bring volunteers and members together to officially open the store on such an amazing day.

It’s also incredibly gratifying to continue to receive such strong backing from partners such as Lewisham Homes. A massive thank you to everyone who came along to show their support.”

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