Season of good will carries on during lockdown at community-minded shop

A grocery shop is continuing the season of goodwill indefinitely by delivering free bread and milk to vulnerable residents living nearby.

By Tony Gillan
Thursday, 14th January 2021, 6:00 am

Brothers Nico and Taz Ali run the Premier convenience shop on Edinburgh Road on the Scotch Estate in Jarrow.

Along with other volunteers, including fellow community stalwart Caroline Wagstaff, the brothers are handing out 140 deliveries of bread and milk, free of charge, to households on the estate.

They are making the deliveries each Thursday and will soon be adding things like tea and biscuits to their drop-offs.

Nico Ali (left) with fellow volunteers at the Premier shop on Edinburgh Road.

Since the covid pandemic took hold, Nico and Taz have done much to help local people get through the difficult times.

But the efforts of the brothers go back much further than just Christmas, and they have made the season of good will last for 12 months a year.

At Halloween they gave out 25 drums worth of sweets as youngsters were unable to go around knocking on doors trick or treating, with help from former Sunderland footballer Pascal Chimbonda.

When the first national lockdown began in March 2020 the shop donated thousands of loaves of bread, pints of milk and other essential items to residents; and they are happy to continue their efforts. Last April they also donated 200 crates of bottled water to NHS workers.

Nico, who has run the shop for over 30 years, said: “We’ve just kept it going. Because it’s the third lockdown it’s harder for vulnerable people. So we’re trying to help as many people as we can.

“We’re also doing free deliveries to people who are paying for their groceries, but might not be able to come to the shop themselves.

“We’re concentrating more on our local area this time. The people who need our support; we’re there for them. Even if it’s just to talk with them when we’re out delivering.”

Nico declined to reveal how much all their community efforts had cost the shop.

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