A LOW-COST community supermarket helping struggling Basildon families cope with the cost of living has been hailed for giving people a “leg-up” and allowing them to keep their dignity.

The Basildon Community Supermarket is held at Trinity Methodist Church in Vange on Tuesdays from 10am and at Laindon Community Centre on Fridays from 1pm.

It offers a wide range of food, drinks, and household products at a discount price.
Unlike a foodbank, all residents of the Basildon borough are entitled to join the scheme for £3.50.

HopeThree16 founder John Hailes created the community supermarket as part of his charity work with homeless and vulnerable men in Southend.

He said: “It’s a way of enabling people who need a leg-up to keep their dignity and respect by still being able to buy instead of going to a foodbank.

“There are quite a few people out there who feel embarrassed about using foodbanks.

“We sell food at a minimum of 30 per cent cheaper than at the supermarkets.”

Basildon Community Supermarket was originally an Essex County Council initiative to bring community supermarkets to the borough. It will celebrate its one-year anniversary next week.

Janine Colton says it is important to educate people on what a community supermarket is.

She said: “It’s not a foodbank or an affordable supermarket. It’s a bridge between the two to give people the dignity and choice of shopping for themselves. I’m a single parent, I work full-time, and I use the community supermarket.

“It isn’t a shameful place to be. In fact, when you become a member, you realise it’s a community. It’s an alternative to an affordable supermarket  there is a wide range of stock, so you can do a full weekly shop here.”

Joanne Groom started using the supermarket to get shopping for her daughter, who is on low pay.

Joanne said: “She works part-time in a nursery but her son and husband are disabled, so I get her shopping for her when I can.”

Customer Glenda Rhodes said: “It’s good for the community and it’s really helpful for people who can’t afford things.”