Company Shop Group wins Queen’s Award for Promoting Opportunity

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Community Shop, the UK’s first social supermarket chain, has today been announced as a winner of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise, in the Promoting Opportunity category.

The award makes it a hat-trick for Company Shop Group after winning the Sustainable Development accolade in 2015 and 2019. It recognises the deep impact of Community Shop’s intense, sustainable support model in helping to change lives and empower communities for the benefit of generations to come, powered by the redistribution of surplus food.

Situated in some of the UK’s most deprived communities*, Community Shop’s network of six social supermarket stores are open to individuals and families who are in receipt of welfare support and are motivated to make a positive difference to their lives.

Community Shop provides members with immediate access to high-quality, low-cost food and essential products. The items are surplus, and have largely been donated by retailers and manufacturers. To address the physical and psychological impact that a prolonged lack of food access can bring, it also offers life-changing personal development support – helping to rebuild lives and develop long-term aspiration change in communities.

A snapshot of Community Shop’s positive impact for its members, recognised by today’s Queen’s Award, includes:

  • Supporting a total of 7,882 families across England.
  • Providing over 30 million meals, helping members to reconnect with food.
  • Supporting 642 members back into employment, and 809 into further education.
  • 7,120 people have engaged with Community Shop’s personal development programmes.

Through its range of bespoke personal development and mentoring programmes, Community Shop offers support with building confidence, budgeting, nutrition, employment and empowerment, enabling members to eventually return to mainstream shopping with increased skills, and a clear life plan.

Discussing the personal impact of the support provided, Community Shop Grimsby member Mandy said: “Being out of work I have found it hard keeping warm with the cost of electricity and food, so shopping at Community Shop really helped me. I have met new friends since attending the Community Hub, and it has helped me work within a team. I did not have much self-esteemed or confidence and was not good at interviews.  I had one interview and put on the waiting list. There were 1700 applicants for 50 jobs. I found out in January that I was successful. So after being out of work for over a year, I am now employed again and I want to thank Community Shop for believing in me and helping me I feel so positive about my life now”.

Through its sustainable model, Community Shop is able to work closely with members and communities on a long-term, sustained basis. This supports social mobility, promotes inter-generational aspiration, and helps to break long-term dependence on food aid.

Community Shop is currently undergoing an ambitious period of expansion, with many more stores in the pipeline to support even more members and communities.

Company Shop Group works with all the major retailers, manufacturers and brands across the UK to redistribute surplus food and products, including from household names such as Ocado, Marks and Spencer, Nestlé, Iceland and Tesco, to members across its network of stores at deeply discounted prices.

Steph McGinty, group managing director of Company Shop Group, said: “Community Shop’s achievement today is testament to the hard-work, dedication and constant innovation of our amazing colleagues, the many organisations and supporters we work closely with every day, as well as our generous and long-standing industry partners.

“With this support, we are able to deliver the best outcomes for the thousands of individuals and families we support across the UK.

“We look forward to continuing to maximise the impact of our work, as we further expand our Community Shop network to provide food access and life-changing personal development support to even more people.”

Natalie Brown, head of Community Shop, commented: “We are honoured to have received a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise, recognising our commitment to promoting opportunities and improving the lives of those we support across our Community Shop network and beyond.

“It has been an extraordinary year for Community Shop, with the provision we deliver being more important than ever for families across the UK. Our brilliant teams have continued to connect, engage and inspire every member who comes through our doors and as a result, we continue our work to build stronger individuals, and more confident communities.”