On Tuesday morning, we visited Anson Community Grocers, a volunteer led project based in Anson House in the heart of the estate. Anson House has been providing valuable services for local people for the last 40 years, but three years ago Anson Community Grocers was set up by volunteers with the support of Healthy Me Healthy Communities.
Despite the torrential rain, the shop was full to bursting with customers. After registering to join, for £2.50 per shop you can have your choice of eight items from the larder, chiller cabinet and freezer. Best of all, the fruit and vegetables are free! We spoke to Mark and Georgina who started using the shop two weeks ago. They were both full of enthusiasm for the project and said that it was great when you only had £20 to spend on food to last the week (you can also buy some toiletries at reduced prices). The project buys its food products from Fareshare, but also receives donations from Marks & Spencer and Asda. However, anyone is welcome to donate!
Marie is one of around eight who volunteer in the shop. She said “It’s more than just a shop”. She went on to say that it’s a place for local people to meet, make new friends, as well as buying inexpensive and healthy food.
In these times of austerity, Anson Grocers provides a much needed resource. Food banks may only be able to provide short term help but for much less than the cost of the goods on offer, such projects as the Community Grocer allow people to shop cheaply week in week out and there is no waste! Food that may have ended up in landfill is being recycled to the benefit of the local community and Planet Earth.
The Spirit of Manchester is truly alive and well at this wonderful community led project.