New community supermarket opens in The Harvey Centre

Charity / Mon 12th Feb 2024 at 07:23am

A NEW community supermarket offering low-cost essentials has opened in Harlow town centre.

Run by the Michael Robert Charitable Trust (MRCT), the Bounty Club is being delivered in partnership with Essex County Council and Feeding Britain.

The supermarket allows customers with a Harlow postcode to come and do a low cost shop every weekday from 10am until 2pm.

Operating from the back doors of the former BHS shop (behind St Paul’s Church and Harlow Playhouse), the new store offers households on a tight budget the opportunity to buy fresh food, longer life items and household essentials at a reduced price.

There is also a low-cost Bounty Café in the church hall next door, where members can drop in and get further advice or simply meet their neighbours and friends.

Councillor Louise McKinlay, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Levelling Up, Communities and Business Engagement, said: “I am delighted to open our latest community supermarket here in Harlow and to see first-hand the great work carried out by our partners at the Bounty Club, who are a well-established charity that really understand the needs of the local community.

“Each of our six community supermarkets currently operating across Essex might look different, with some even mobile, but all reflect the need and opportunities of each area. Central to each one is the creation of a vital community hub, where people see a friendly face and feel warmly welcomed and at home.

“With over 1,500 adults and children already benefitting across all our stores, I am looking forward to seeing memberships continue to grow. We are working to ensure there is a community supermarket in every city, district and borough in Essex by the end of this year, playing a vital role in our work to level up the county.”

The Bounty Club has a team of staff and volunteers ready to help customers with their shopping experience. Guests, such as Benefits Advisors and support agencies, will also drop in to chat to anyone needing financial support. Special events like cookery classes, are also planned.

Andy Thornton, CEO of MRCT, said: “MRCT have been supporting our local community for 25 years, and for a growing section of our population life has never been tougher. We have run the Foodbank for 14 years and have been getting to the point where we couldn’t keep up with demand.

“By devising a second tier of support through the Bounty Club we have taken pressure off the Foodbank and off people likely to end up there. We started to offer low-cost food support 18 months ago and since then over 3,000 people have come for help. As a consequence, the numbers at the Foodbank have stopped rising, and many who came to the Foodbank have now swapped to the Bounty Club.

“We are delighted to have had financial support to upgrade this to a fully-fledged Community Supermarket; with fresh food, long life food, essential items plus a cafe offering friendship and social support. We are already getting over 600 visitors a week and things will only get bigger! Let’s hope this lifeline improves the resilience of local families until the day things improve for everyone.”

For more information on cost of living support or to find a community supermarket near you, visit www.essex.gov.uk/helping-you-cost-living.

Keep up with information on the Bounty Club at https://mrct.org.uk/bountyclub/.

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4 Comments for New community supermarket opens in The Harvey Centre:

2024-02-12 07:38:28

The whole thing is a good idea but be mindful when buying there, some food they sell are cheaper to buy in supermarkets, so always price check before buying (for example they sell jars for 90p/£1 but they be 45/50p in supermarkets). also check dates in the food, recently got gravy off them and when i got home it was 2 years out of date, and packet rice being 19 months out of date.

2024-02-12 08:42:54

Can Councillor Louise McKinlay, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Levelling Up, Communities and Business Engagement, explain why facilities like this are needed if she has achieved any levelling up?

2024-02-12 11:22:25

Thanks for profiling this Your Harlow. Nehamelang, good advice for people to shop around of course. This is the first we have heard about such out of date items. It is our policy to avoid this happening, we will take that into consideration and keep checking. Items that are cheaper in supermarkets tend to be their own brands, so our Dolmio sauces are more expensive in the shops but there may be a cheaper supermarket brand. However we aim to offer an overall shop at 60-70% supermarket costs for those who need help.

2024-02-12 19:45:04

This is a great idea , but how do you know the people that go there are in need of this facility.

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