BRIGHTSTORE celebrates first year!
BrightStore celebrated its first birthday and the launch of a report on its first 12 months at the Hollingdean Community Centre yesterday.
Hollingdean members and volunteer teams from BrightStores across the city joined supporters of the project to mark the milestone.
Brightstore was one of seven affordable food schemes piloted and supported by the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership in September 2020 to help tackle food inequality in the city. It opened its doors for the first time at the Hollingdean Community Centre the following month.
It has since opened another three stores, with a further one planned in Whitehawk, and now has over 350 active members
However, members and volunteers were back where it all started yesterday to share birthday cake and do their regular weekly BrightStore shop.
BrightStore Founder Rachel Pitts-Wicks, who set up the scheme with four other people she met volunteering on food projects in the city during the first coronavirus lockdown, said:
“I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved in the last 12 months. When we started BrightStore we really had no idea whether we would still be here a year later let alone be opening more stores across the city. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the incredible support of our members who run them.
BrightStore has shown that you can tackle food inequality in a positive way by creating welcoming stores at the heart of local communities that give people choice and access to amazing fresh local food whilst also tackling food waste. It’s also brought neighbours and communities together during a really difficult time.”
Vic Borrill, Director, Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, added:
“The pandemic highlighted the many challenges we face in our city when it comes to people being able to afford and access food. These challenges will continue in the months ahead with rising fuel bills and increases in other living costs. That’s why BrightStore and other food projects like it are so important. People save money, eat more healthily, and feel part of their community by using them.
Karen Tilley, from Hollingdean, who became a member of BrightStore shortly after it opened last year, said:
"BrightStore helped me during a difficult and anxious time and meant that I didn’t need to worry as much about my food bills. I love cooking so the weekly shop goes a long way and helps feed my family. I’ve also met new people and become part of a wider social network and I’m in a far better place as a result.”
Highlights from the report launched yesterday include:
3,508 weekly shops were made by members during BrightStore’s first year
8,508 people have been fed by BrightStore since it opened
Three-quarters (75%) of members said they felt more connected to other people since visiting BrightStore*
The majority of members (51%) said that they had eaten more vegetables since shopping at BrightStore*
Over 80% of people said that they had saved money since becoming a member of BrightStore*
You can view and download BrightStore's 'Our First Year' report here
*Figures taken from the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership Affordable Food Scheme Evaluation, June 2021
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