On Tuesday 26 February, after months of hard work from resident volunteers such as Evelyn Tenants and Residents Association (TRA), and the support of Lewisham Homes Community Relations Team, the Evelyn Community Store opened its doors to residents.
The Evelyn Community Store is a food store run by volunteer residents to provide low cost groceries to residents on the Evelyn estate. Residents work in partnership with FareShare, who redirect surplus food from supermarkets that otherwise would have been thrown away. The store currently has eighteen resident volunteers.
Residents on low incomes pay a membership fee of £3.50 for £30 worth of shopping per week. The store differs from a food bank as it has plenty of fresh produce including fruit and veg, milk, eggs and other high quality fresh products. Beneficiaries also gain a greater sense of ownership and pride as their membership fee pays for the subscription to FareShare. 106 residents have benefitted from the store so far and it continues to grow.
The store not only provides food, but also creates a local community hub where other services, such as debt advice, employment support and digital training, are offered to store members. So far Lewisham Homes have trained seventeen residents in Food and Hygiene Level 2, Mental Health Awareness and other skills.
Travis Perkins Managed Services contributed £22,000 to this community initiative.