On Friday 11 October, the doors to Lucie’s Pantry, South Shields’s first social supermarket, were officially opened by Emmaus North East.

Lucie’s Pantry provides a sustainable and affordable source of food and household essentials for those struggling to make ends meet through debt, illness or low income. In attendance for the opening was South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck and Deputy Mayor Cllr Gladys Hobson, as well as representatives from Emmaus North East.

Access to Lucie’s Pantry is via membership. Members pay £2.50 each week and then have access to £15 worth of food and goods. Most of the food and items that can be found in the social supermarket are donations made by organisations like Asda, Morrison’s, Fairshare and Bunzl Cleaning and Hygiene supplies.

John Harrison, Executive Lead for Emmaus North East, said, “Emmaus North East took the decision to open Lucie’s Pantry as we saw there was a genuine need in the community. Austerity and poverty in the North East are growing issues, and no one should have to choose between feeding their family, providing a clean home or paying rent.

“Thank you to everyone who turned up for the official opening of Lucie’s Pantry – with the support of the wider community, we can continue to help those who need it most.”

Also in attendance was Andrew Cooper, Neighbourhood Investment Manager for Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group who provided the building where Lucie’s Pantry is based. He said, “Around 15 percent of our residents are saying that 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.”