Leicester’s Belgrave housing co-op launches community food hub

'The Food Hub embodies our unwavering dedication to not only our tenant members but also the entire local community'

Belgrave Neighbourhood Co-operative Housing Association (BNCHA), has opened a community food hub in collaboration with community organisation Reaching People.

This initiative provides accessible and affordable food options to the local community, is open every Wednesday from 10am to 2pm and will initially serve as a resource for all residents in the area.

One of the unique aspects of the BNCHA and Reaching People’s Food Hub, say organisers, is that there are no strict criteria for participation and everyone should feel welcome to access the service. This means that all members of the community, regardless of their background, income, or situation, can benefit from heavily discounted groceries and essential food items.

In cases of emergency or extreme need, the team say they have established criteria and an emergency referral system. These referrals can come from other community organisations, agencies, or other food pantries in the city. This ensures that those facing dire circumstances receive the support they require promptly, they say.

The Food Hub’s operations will be led by a team of volunteers from within the co-op and the local community. Volunteers will receive comprehensive training, organised jointly with Reaching people.

Related: How a housing co-op is working to foster unity and cohesion in Leicester

BNCHA chair Jaimini Bharakhada said: “I am filled with pride to announce the opening of our Belgrave Food Hub, a significant milestone on our journey to foster a stronger, more connected community. The Food Hub embodies our unwavering dedication to not only our tenant members but also the entire local community. In these trying times of the ongoing cost of living crisis, it is our shared responsibility to make a meaningful impact.

“This hub isn’t just a project; it’s the realisation of our co-operative’s grand vision – a vision where essential resources are within everyone’s reach. When the opportunity to collaborate with Reaching People presented itself, it felt like destiny.

“The pieces of our vision fell perfectly into place, giving us the means to further accelerate this journey of creating a resilient, inclusive, and harmonious community, this initiative extends beyond mere sustenance. It’s about strengthening the bonds that unite us and empowering every individual within our reach. Together, we have the power to make a profound impact on the lives of our neighbours and enhance the well-being of our local community. The collaboration with Reaching People aligns perfectly with this vision. “

Tim Adkin from Reaching People added: “The new Belgrave Food hub at BHNCA is one of the most important projects in the area.  Belgrave doesn’t currently have a community food hub which supports those most in need in the area and there is a real need to support the most vulnerable. But what is so special about this hub, it will not only provide affordable food, but it will also act as a focus for all sorts of community ideas and opportunities to improve the lives of local people. I am delighted to be a small part in the project and am so looking forward to seeing all the developments over the coming years.”

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