The Social Supermarket Rotherham Minster runs every Wednesday and Thursday. Those struggling to make ends meet can become members and come to our shop in the town centre each week for just £3. Our team of volunteers chat, make tea, stock shelves, collect food and support members in all sorts of ways. We started 18 months ago after chatting to people who needed food support for a few months and wanted to be able to choose their food and make a contribution to the cost. It has become a place of opportunities: friendships are made, money skills are learned, people start to save money and find help with benefits, housing etc. They also realise they have skills to share and start to volunteer. We have fun working out how to cook different meals, with some joining our cooking course. Our next step is to have a go at growing veg and getting active with a Pilates class.
I first met Client L when they were a member of the Social Supermarket and we referred them into Citizens Advice for benefits and debt support. Once they graduated from the Social Supermarket, they became a volunteer helping at the Catch-Up Café and food sessions. I spoke to them about work opportunities and referred them into WorkingWin. They found some part time work, but the hours did not provide them with a regular income so left them still reliant on benefits. They have now managed to secure a full-time job and although feeling a bit nervous about managing their own budget, they are very excited to be taking control of their finances again.
When I first met Client M at the Social Supermarket, they were very quiet and withdrawn and it was their friend who spoke on their behalf about money support, which we referred them into Citizens Advice for. Over the past couple of months, I have seen their confidence soar and become much more engaged with everyone, and after being asked to help one day when they were short of volunteers, they now volunteer there on a weekly basis. They have also taken the lead to help run the allotment at the Clifton Learning Partnership building for the Social Supermarket.