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"Buy a brick" drive for The People's Supermarket new Homerton store

PUBLISHED: 09:35 25 January 2012 | UPDATED: 07:23 26 January 2012

The ear-marked site for The People's Supermarket in Sedgewick Street. Photo credit Ash Saluka

The ear-marked site for The People's Supermarket in Sedgewick Street. Photo credit Ash Saluka

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An unusual supermarket offering an alternative to multinationals has begun an intensive fundraising campaign to open a second store in Homerton, which could open by June.

An unusual supermarket offering an alternative to multinationals has begun an intensive fundraising campaign to open a second store in Homerton, which could open by June.

Member-owned and run social enterprise The People’s Supermarket (TPS) needs to raise at least £650,000 to fit out three empty business units in Sedgwick Street owned by social housing group Viridian.

Everyone is now being asked to invest £1 in a brick of the store to help fund fitting it out, and TPS is also looking for local businesses and philanthropists which it could partner with it through sponsorship and corporate social responsibility.

Celebrity chef Arthur Potts Dawson was the focus of a Channel 4 documentary last year, showing the trials and tribulations of opening TPS’ first store in Bloomsbury.

Project leader Jessica Green said: “It’s an ambitious project, the units are empty whereas before we’ve taken on a relatively shop-looking-like type site, but this is just concrete shell and core.

“There are no circuits or services so we need to spend an enormous amount of time building - and funding that build is the challenge we have right now.”

The store’s concept sees customers awarded reductions on their grocery bill by working there, and the idea is to stock local and responsibly sourced food.

As well as a supermarket they also hope to open a café which would use food which is unsellable because of “best before” dates, but not unusable.

The Bloomsbury store currently makes around 500 take-away meals a week, saving about a tonne of food waste.

“We don’t have space there to incorporate a place to eat, but in Hackney we would do that. The consultation responses said there was a need for a social space here to connect the community,” said Jessica.

“This way we wouldn’t just be monopolising on that in a commercial way, but as a way to connect the community, teach people about health and wellbeing, how to cook and how to avoid food waste.”

Around 30 operational shop and kitchen staff could be employed in the 4,000 sq ft supermarket, and it will need around 700 volunteers a month in order to function properly as a membership co-operative.

Hackney people gave the store their support in a consultation ending in November.

The fundraising launch, Brick By Brick, launches tomorrow (Thursday January 26) and co-founder Kate Bull and Bloomsbury store volunteers will be speaking at the shop in Sedgewick Street. Everyone is welcome between 10am to noon.

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