The first social supermarket in Angus is looking forward to strengthening its links with local schools after an outstanding show of support from a local primary.
Langlands in Forfar delivered almost £600 of financial help and a deluge of food and other items to the S-Mart shop.
The initiative has been a runaway success since opening earlier this year.
It opened in a bid to tackle supermarket waste and food poverty by offering affordable supplies to local families.
But the launch of the new venture by friends Pauline Lockhart and Carol Malone coincided with the coronavirus outbreak.
It led to a switch of emphasis since they could not easily welcome people through the doors of the West High Street premises.
Social supermarket provided almost 36,000 food packs in three months
Instead the pair put together grocery packs and from April to July provided a staggering 36,000 meals across Angus.
Since then, the shop has really taken off and now has more than 500 members who regularly drop-in.
The premises receives surplus, over ordered and ‘no longer stocked’ food from supermarkets and local food suppliers.
It is also increasingly benefitting from wider community support through ties such as that forged with Langlands primary.
Pupils visited S-Mart to see shop in action
School principal teacher Allan Grogan said: “Every year we raise money through a Christmas jumper day and raised £581 through that.
“But we also had so many food donations and wanted to continue to try to build links with the local community, so we thought it was a good idea to support Forfar social supermarket.”
“The house captains have been down to the shop and it is great for them to see the work S-Mart is doing.
“The children really understand that it something for everyone and they are learning about limiting food waste.
“We are trying to become a sustainable school, developing our own garden with help from the young farmers.
“It is all part of giving back to the community,” he said.
‘Pay-it-forward’ vouchers given were also handed out by the Langlands pupils as part of the developing project.
“The community has really come behind us in terms of using the shop and offering support,” said Pauline.
“We also set up the voucher scheme and cannot believe how well that is working.”
The ambition is to set up a social supermarket in every Angus town.
“We have tried to make the shop as welcoming and mainstream as possible so that people can come in and shop for their food, vegetables and other items,” said Pauline.
“We are not a food bank – foodbanks are for those facing a crisis situation.
“What we are trying to do is create a model to keep people from reaching that point.”
Carol said they had been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Langlands pupils and hope to strengthen the relationship with the school and others across Angus.