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Medicash Foundation helps Citizens’ Supermarket take a bite out of poverty

The Medicash Foundation, part of Liverpool based health insurer Medicash, has provided vital funding to local charity Feeding Birkenhead, Supporting Wirral to launch a series of schemes aimed at helping the residents of one of England’s poorest towns according to lovemoney.com. by Clare Deane | Thursday 11th July 2019

The Number 7 refrigerated van collecting chilled meat that will feed over 1,000 families

The Medicash Foundation, formerly the Medicash Charitable Trust, helped Feeding Birkenhead, Supporting Wirral launch its ‘School Holiday Meals and Fun’ project in association with The Hive in October 2017.

Since then it has donated £10,000 towards the set-up and launch of Birkenhead’s first Citizens’ Supermarket and community cafe – Number 7 – as well as funding a refrigerated van to help move stocks between food manufacturers, supermarkets, Number 7 and other local community groups.

Number 7 officially opened the doors to its community café in September 2018 and to its Citizens’ Supermarket in November 2018. Since its launch 250 people from Birkenhead and the surrounding areas have become members of the Citizens’ Supermarket, with the first group of members saving between £40 and £50 each per month – this money then helps to cover their rent and utility bills, as well as the costs of raising their children.

Currently the Citizens’ Supermarket is on track to put over £100,000 back into the pockets of some of Birkenhead’s poorest households in just its first year.

Partnering with FareShare, His Church and a number of local retailers, Number 7 has been able to provide a range of fresh and ambient food to its members. They have also saved many tonnes of food that would otherwise have gone to waste – more than a dozen projects recently benefited from a large delivery of chilled meat, helping to provide over a thousand meals for local families.

Local MP Frank Field, who is also the Chairman of Liverpool-based Medicash and a Trustee of The Medicash Foundation said: “The work being done by Number 7 and its staff, together with the impact it is having on the wider community, is nothing short of miraculous. Without the support of organisations such as Medicash, though, delivering projects like this would be that much more difficult.

“Speaking directly with the members of Number 7, they have praised the ability to select their own food with dignity while also accessing support with cooking, sorting out any benefit problems, and managing debt. The project has also been able to create new employment and training opportunities for local residents. The lessons gained from the project are vital for those of us who are trying to tackle the root causes of poverty in our area.”

Annie Oliver, chief executive of Feeding Britain, said: “Number 7 is the result of a huge community effort to ensure equal access to good food for all people in a way that is dignified. This is the first of a series of community led food hubs that Feeding Britain is piloting, with our second Citizens' Supermarket due to open in Coventry later this Summer. Within the first 6 month of Number 7's operation we have seen first-hand the impact that a Citizens' Supermarket can have in a community. By restoring choice, providing access to affordable good quality food, and connecting members with onsite advice services, lives and communities can really be changed for the better.”

Number 7 has also become the hub for the local ‘Baby Basics Wirral’ scheme which recently received a grant of £5,000 from The Medicash Foundation. This scheme provides expectant parents with a pack of essential items needed for a new baby including a Moses basket, nappies, clothes and toiletries.

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex presented local expectant mother Angel Midgley with her very own ‘Baby Basics’ package when she visited Number 7 alongside His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex in January 2019 to officially open the centre.

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