Launch of new food co-op for Barking Riverside residents ‘Food on the Move’
Southern Housing Group has launched a new mobile food store at its Barking Riverside development to offer local residents easy access to fresh fruit and vegetables at affordable prices.
Managed by Community Food Enterprise Limited, CFE, (a registered charity and social enterprise business) the ‘Food on the Move’ mobile food store is stationed outside the Barking Rivergate Centre on Minter Road every Wednesday from 2.30-3.45pm.
Southern Housing Group has provided the initial funding for the project as part of its ongoing community investment work with the aim that the food store becomes financially self-sustainable through sales in the future.
Shereena Habib, Community Regeneration Officer at Southern Housing Group, explains the reasons behind the introduction of the food store, “We are committed to listening to our residents and investing in our communities. One of the things regularly coming up through our consultation with residents was the need for a local food store of some kind and was to get involved in the community.
“Working with CFE has meant we can respond to residents’ needs. As part of the funding we have provided residents will be trained to manage the food store. This makes the scheme sustainable in the long term and provides valuable training and work experience for residents helping them to gain future employment.”
The ‘Food on the Move’ store is a Luton van which has been customised so that shoppers can come on board and select their own produce. Steps and railings have been fitted to facilitate ease of access.
Donna Blyth and her family moved to Drake Close at Barking Riverside in February. Donna said, “The food store is a brilliant idea. It’s great for getting my shopping when I pick my children up from the school as it is parked right outside. It’s always busy and really popular with my neighbours, especially those who do not drive as it’s so local and handy.”
Eric Samuels, Chief Executive of CFE, said, “We’ve have seen a huge increase in the demand for local access to affordable fruit and vegetables from residents across London. This is the first we have opened in Barking Riverside area and it’s really exciting to see how positively it has been received by residents. We have already received interest from residents looking to volunteer and manage the store and we look forward to developing the food store over the next few years in line with residents’ needs.”
About Barking Riverside
Barking Riverside Ltd is a joint venture between the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and Bellway Homes, working in partnership with Southern Housing Group, London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (LTGDC) and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham to deliver the 10,800 homes proposed for the site over the next 20 years.
The Group is the affordable housing provider for the first four sites with a total of 114 social rent and 53 intermediate homes underway in Stage One. Affordable housing accounts for 42 per cent of homes on the first four sites.
The affordable properties are a mix of one, two and three bedroom flats as well as three and four bedroom houses, with over 80 per cent of housing within the first four sites catering for families.
The high quality homes are complemented by the recently completed Rivergate Centre. This community amenity includes a new primary school and proposals for retail and healthcare facilities as well as space to support social enterprise.
With 40 per cent of the site designated as open green space, the development also incorporates a range of environmental measures including green roofs and a proposed ecology park.