South Tyneside’s first social supermarket Lucie’s Pantry opens in South Shields to help struggling families

The community has welcomed South Tyneside’s first social supermarket designed to help feed struggling families.

By Sarah Sinclair
Sunday, 13th October 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Sunday, 13th October 2019, 9:05 am

Lucie’s Pantry in Dean Road, South Shields was officially opened on Friday, October 11 by charity Emmaus North East.

The charity supports formerly homeless people by giving them a home, meaningful work and training opportunities to help them rebuild their lives.

The Pantry provides a sustainable, affordable source of food and essentials for those struggling to make ends meet through debt, illness or low income.

Emmaus North East open Lucie's Pantry social supermarket. From left companion Michael Johnston, Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Emmaus community manager John Harrison, Stuart Small, Deputy Mayor Coun Gladys Hobson and companion Glen Miller

Its customers, who must be professionally referred to the service, have access to £15 worth of food and goods every week for the cost of just £2.50.

The majority of the food has been provided by organisations such as Asda, Morrison’s and Fairshare, and members of the public can donate items at the charity’s shops in Low Fell and Hebburn.

The facility was opened by South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck, Deputy Mayor Gladys Hobson and representatives from Emmaus North East.

“There is a genuine need for this, so it’s important that we can provide quality food and give people a sense of community. Food banks are great for the most in need, but there needs to be something else,” said Emmaus community manager, John Harrison.

Emmaus North East open Lucie's Pantry social supermarket with companion Glen Miller, Emma Lewell-Buck MP and Michael Johnston companion (right)

“This is to try and reach the people who really need it, to help them get their foot back on the ladder.”

He added: “The community has been fantastic, they have offered us loads of support, as they always do and we couldn't do it without them.”

Andrew Cooper, of Clarion Housing, who provided the building where the supermarket is based, added: “Around 15 percent of our residents are saying they are in food poverty, so it’s a desperately needed service and we’re really proud to support Emmaus to use the centre, so our residents can access it.”

Emma Lewell-Buck commented: “In South Shields we've always had this cracking community spirit and togetherness and Emmaus have captured that to create Lucie's Party, which is going to help so many people in need in our community. I'm really proud of the work that all of them have done to get us to this point.”

Emmaus North East open Lucie's Pantry social supermarket with companion Michael Johnston serving a customer

Lucie’s Pantry is open every Tuesday from 9am-5pm.