Hulme Community Grocer wins a Be Proud award for bringing the community together
- Hulme Community Grocer won council's community award for bringing people together
- Accolade is part of annual Be Proud Awards
- Project offers people cheap, healthy and quality food for just £2.50
Hulme Community Grocer, which provides cheap, high-quality food for local residents, has won an award for its innovative work bringing the community together.
The accolade is part of the council’s annual Be Proud Awards, celebrating extraordinary volunteers and local champions like Healthy Me Healthy Communities, the organisation behind the grocer.
“It was a big surprise and amazing for us because we only opened in February. I think especially the volunteers really deserve it,” said project co-ordinator Sally Devine, 32.
“They are all local and most of them were shoppers first before they decided to get involved in it. They all just worked really really hard and have thought of different things to improve this project.”
Akhter Azabany is one of the approximately 11 volunteers at the imitiative and used to work in a grocer’s shop before she was asked to help out in Hulme.
“In the beginning I thought I might just come for a few weeks, but when I came I enjoyed it a lot and stayed. I like to socialise and feel happy to have the others around”, said the 50 year old.
Regular shopper Lynne Daley, 62, said: “It is a really good bargain and I know a lot of people in this area. It is lovely coming in beforehand and have a cup of tea, slice of cake, a sit down and chat to people. It is really friendly.”
Emma Cooper, 38, another shopper said: “I’ve been a resident over 10 years and since One Manchester and the community shop took over it is a lot more organised and more things are going on. There are a lot more workshops like writing and knitting classes on Mondays, Irish coffee with a free meal on a Wednesday and a karate class on a Tuesday.”
When they first opened in February around 120 people signed up for one week. Now around 40 people-a-week shop at Hulme Community Grocer, which is not just a place for getting cheap food but also a place for people to get involved in other activities.
“The idea is that the food is like a hook to bring people in. So basically it is about engaging people with other services, who often might have mental health issues, physical health issues or other problems like long-term unemployment. So we partnered up with loads of other organisations”, said Sally .
One of the organisations they are linked with is an organisation that carries out health checks every month while people are waiting to shop their groceries.
Sally added: “We also had someone come and do a free stress management workshop. One of the ladies told me she attended it while she was waiting to shop the grocers and now signed up for it for a longer term.
“So through coming to the grocer she accessed a bit of a tasting session that then made her do something that will help her in the long-term with her wellbeing. A bit like a domino effect.”
Besides the community grocer in Hulme there are five other simialr initiatives located in Fallowfield, Miles Platting, Gorton, Coverdale, Newbank and Anson.