The Salvation Army will launch Stuff on a Bus on Canvey Island on October 17, a new mobile community supermarket where customers can get discounted food from a refurbished double-decker bus.
Responding to the cost of food, The Salvation Army is working in partnership with Essex County Council and Feeding Britain by jointly funding this initiative which aims to bring some relief to local people who are struggling to make ends meet.
The mobile supermarket was unveiled at a special event at The Paddocks Community Centre, Long Road earlier today (Friday).
Holly Alberici, Pioneer Leader of The Salvation Army on Canvey Island said she believes the new service will make a significant impact. Customers have the opportunity to buy items at a greatly reduced price after paying a £5 annual sign on fee.
She said: “We are hoping to fill in the gap between food bank and supermarket. People can jump on board and get what they need. Rising food prices are impacting more and more people and I’m looking forward to the community using the bus in a welcoming and non-judgemental environment.”
The supermarket will be on the bottom deck of the bus while the top deck will have facilities including a mobile banking unit, Employment Plus, a service run by The Salvation Army to help people become job-ready, and a wellbeing coach.
The new Stuff on a Bus service will initially run for two days a week. On Tuesdays, it will make two stops at Link Road from 10am to 12pm and The Paddocks from 2pm to 4pm, while on Fridays it will stop outside St Nicholas Church from 10am to 11am, the Small Gains Hall from 11.30am to 12.30pm and Canvey Island FC from 2pm to 3pm. A personal shopper service will be offered for disabled customers.
Cllr Louise McKinlay, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Levelling Up, Communities and Business Engagement said: “I am delighted to be part of the launch of our fifth community supermarket - the first in the county that is going fully mobile!
“We know that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to the support needed in our local communities and so we have worked hard with the Salvation Army, Castle Point Borough Council and our wider partners to ensure that the successful model of our community supermarket programme operates with the exact needs of the local community in mind.
“The bus can reach residents that may not otherwise be able to make trips to a fixed shop across town. It offers exactly the same shopping experience as our other supermarkets, with people able to stock up on a variety of fresh food and household items at much reduced prices.
“This is the next step in our commitment to bringing a community supermarket to every City, Borough and District in Essex, which plays a vital role in our work to level up the County. I am very much looking forward to seeing the bus in action and seeing its customer numbers grow.”
The Salvation Army is on the lookout for volunteers to help on the bus. If you are interested in finding out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01702 426260.
*You can keep up with the latest from Stuff on the Bus by searching The Salvation Army Canvey Island on Facebook or following @stuffonthebuscanvey on Instagram.