Not for Profit

Published: April 5, 2022 | Updated: April 5, 2022

Poole charity ‘helping everyday people with everyday life’ proudly showcases fresh look

Poole Mayor Cllr Julie Bagwell, left, and Erika Sloper, Charity Project Manager, second right, with Marie Fitzwalter and Alex Tivnan.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A charity which looks set to be busier than ever in coming months has showcased its fresh look – including a community coffee shop.

Poole Waste Not Want Not on the High Street supports families struggling to keep their heads financially above water.

A social supermarket provides access to everyday essentials with members able to choose the food they wish to have and then take it to the till to pay a donated price.

The charity, which uses the slogan ‘Helping everyday people with everyday life’, says the arrangement leads to a greater sense of dignity, choice, control and helps with budgeting skills.

A redesign of the signage to make it a more welcoming place has proved popular.

Positive feedback received includes comments such as: “It feels like any other supermarket, a place to feel proud to come.”

Meanwhile Erika Sloper, Charity Project Manager, pictured left, said the opening of a coffee shop within the social supermarket had also gone down with members.

She said: “It’s inspired everyone to get involved, giving them a sense of pride to be a part of the transformation.

“One volunteer commented on how the journey from start to finish has given her a sense of achievement – something she has never felt before.

“Having a place to come to meet and make friends in a safe and friendly environment is a lifeline to so many.”

Guests at the open day included Poole Mayor, Cllr Julie Bagwell, pictured, right, cutting the ribbon to officially mark the new coffee shop.

She said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to come along.

“To see the transformation in this place is heart-warming.”

Erika, who joined the charity in May last year, paid tribute to the “big family of volunteers’ who supported the day-to-day operation of the social supermarket and coffee shop.

She added: “Seeing so many people in partnership shows how working together really builds everlasting relationships.

“The community coffee shop has great potential to provide so much more including social groups, networking, basic food preparation workshops and training in a safe social space.

“They say things happen for a reason.

“Development and growth can be gained from the tough times we face.

“We have learned to listen and respect others.

“Changing the layout of the shop has created an inviting space.

“Opening our front doors leading onto the high street has changed people’s view.

“Our members feel proud to be entering a ‘real shop space’, a place to come to make their money go further.

“There are also recipe cards placed in the store to encourage people to cook nutritional meals.”

Bill Deans and Elaine Lawford, who helped build the charity, have stepped down as Trustees to enjoy a well-earned retirement but have been recognised as Life Presidents.

Erika, who is assisted by her ‘Co Pilot’ Marie Fitzwalter, said: “I thank them both for giving me the chance to continue this journey.”

Poole Waste Not Want Not has more than 1,200 members.