The Salvation Army has set up a new style of food bank on Peggotty Road, Great Yarmouth. This ‘social supermarket’ requires customers to pay as little as 7p up to £1 for everyday essentials as well as some treats. Subsidised by the council and donations to the Salvation Army, the store is volunteer run, supplying goods to 150 families already. 2016 figures show that 15% of children live in low-income households around Great Yarmouth, showing that there is a real need for a service like this. With the cost of living increasing, situations like this are bound to be much worse.
Captain Marie Burr who runs the social supermarket says, ‘people only really use food banks when they have no food in the cupboards and no money to buy the food. If we can intervene before that stage, then we can help people to manage their money better’. The community centre also houses social sessions in which guest speakers come in to talk and support those who need it. Ranging from managing money, to social services, to just having a coffee and a chat with people in a similar situation, Captain Marie explains how this is how people best connect and the community comes together.
The social supermarket is having an impact. Captain Marie recalls an elderly woman bursting into tears at the till when her shopping came to £7, but these were happy tears, as this meant she had £20 left over to pay for heating.
Across the Great Yarmouth area there are five food banks, one run by the Salvation Army. Sally’s store on Peggotty Road covers the whole NR30 area and is available to anyone in need of support.