A new Social Supermarket is to open in Newry later this month to help people in risk of food poverty.
Social enterprise, The Clanrye Group was successful in its expression of interest to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council through a Community Coordination Hub, to operate the benefit scheme at a cost of £6 per week for members.
The Department for Communities confirmed this week to the Local Democracy Service that it had now released the funding support.
A spokesperson said: “As part of the department’s ongoing work to roll the Social Supermarket model out across all council areas, Newry Mourne and Down District Council has been allocated £133,000 for the 2023/24 financial year.”
A ‘Social Supermarket’ is a shop that can sell products reduced in price by up to 70% to members who are at risk of food poverty.
The main difference between a Social Supermarket and a foodbank is that the new scheme includes wrap-around services in conjunction with food supply.
The Clanrye Group’s expression of interest, states: “To facilitate the large geographical area of Newry Mourne and Down, we will utilise our member resources in the area to include office locations in Newry (Ballybot) and Downpatrick (Ballymote). And by accessing the services of Rural Community Transport, we will provide outreach to our rural partners in south Armagh and across the Kilkeel area.”
To be eligible for the programme, a household’s income must be below £23,000 and not receiving free school meals.
In exceptional circumstances, other individuals who are struggling due to a recent event may also be considered, such as the loss of a job, ill health, bereavement or even a break up of a relationship with someone struggling to pay every day bills.
People will also be offered support to find employment if required and free local transport may be available to access the support.
Confederation of Community Groups, CEO Raymond Jackson a member of the Community Coordination Hub, said: “Clanrye Group will lead on the delivery of the Social Supermarket programme on behalf of the Strategic Stakeholders Forum (SSF).
“This follows on the back of a successful pilot programme undertaken last year and will run from September 2023 to March 2024.
“A referral process has been agreed for those individuals/families and for those accepted onto the programme a £6 per week membership fee will secure £45 per week food shop (for 12 weeks) and access to ‘wrap -around’ services.”