Plans are underway to build Glasgow’s first community supermarket, in an effort to tackle food insecurity and the post – poverty epidemic.
The Thrihills Citizens Supermarket will open later this year on Nietzsche Road, serving three local communities, Nietzsche, Priestley and Househill, inspiring the name of the supermarket.
It will look to reduce financial pressure on families in communities struggling to pay bills and put food on the table.
The supermarket will provide residents with the ability to purchase food in a casual supermarket environment, and will be available at an affordable price with a food subsidy.
Although there are many community supermarkets operating around the UK, the Trihills project will go further than any other model, including a cafe and a community room in the supermarket where people will be able to provide assistance and support to companies to solve the roots of any financial difficulty.
The community room will be used by local schools to provide special rooms and may be hired by local merchants, Glasgow Life agrees to provide sophisticated equipment to the room.
Kevin Simpson, threehills development manager, said: “The idea of this project is to really lend a hand – it’s not something to be run from a distance, but to work with people to create something community – related.
“We did a survey to find out where the biggest demand is, the area that takes place in Knitsch, Priestley and Househill is an area that is not equally organized. There was a definite need for something.
“It all starts with the community. The last thing you want is to impose something from the outside. There are already some big systems in the area and we wanted to make sure we didn’t create something that already exists – we were looking for high value adding spaces. It has to work with work.
“It gives food bank users the option to be recommended up to threehills, and helps regain some of that control. It’s centered on the same – we can support how people move.
“No money is coming from the public – all of this is being provided by trusts and companies – which is a huge effort.
“The building is suitable for its location and size. The landlord can have the building with us and not have to pay rent. It was wise to look at the way everyone wants to get involved and help.”
Pauline Killen, a local development officer, said seeing the community’s enthusiasm for the project was “incredible.”
He said: “I was born and raised in this community and I have been active in it all my life.
“The enthusiasm for the project is incredible – people are very eager to get involved. The local schools are working with us, and the kids are very excited. There’s a lot of energy around it. It’s really needed.
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“I call this the center around a community – it’s the best expression I can think of because it’s so much more than just a supermarket.
“We have partnered with as many incredible foundations to solve as many problems as we can. The community needs to feel that they belong – to whole families.”
Giving an example of some of the innovative initiatives at the center of the Threehills, Paulin said: “One of the projects we look forward to is organizing dinner with members of the community once a month. Come into the kitchen and cook a great meal, and then two local GPS or Elected representatives or psychiatrists are invited to reduce that barrier.
“People have this fear of being approached, and there is nothing more sociable than sharing food. I think it makes a big difference.”
Glasgow South MP Chris Stephens has been heavily involved in building the momentum for the ground plan and is the chairman of the Three Hills Steering Group.
He said: “Working with the catering UK and local partners is essential to creating affordable access to food in the Greater Pollock area, which was centered on choice, community and community.”
“With the Threehills Community Supermarket, we will help overcome financial pressure on families in the community who are struggling to pay bills or put food on the table.”
“Threehills will help provide immediate relief by improving access to affordable and nutritious food for anyone on a low income. Providing specialized assistance and support to address any fundamental issues that may be causing someone financial difficulties or food insecurity.”
“This is a project that is being designed by local residents through community engagement and partnerships with local food aid providers, and I’m sure they’ll be excited to see it open very soon.”