Days after receiving a Royal seal of approval, the roof has literally come in on an Angus social supermarket.
S-Mart was the final stop on a successful town tour by the Earl and Countess of Forfar on Monday.
Prince Edward and Sophie were thrilled to hear about the work of an organisation which provided 35,000 meals in the first four months of the pandemic and has gone on to become a lifeline for hundreds of local families.
The VIPs learned of ambitious expansion plans for the set-up, including the launch of a new initiative to combat fast fashion.
But the countdown to the weekend opening of the organisation’s BRAND clothing project next door was halted by a burst pipe deluge.
It swamped the S-Mart shop on West High Street, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.
The social supermarket also lost almost half its stock, but all hands on deck got it back up and running within hours.
Pauline Lockhart and Carol Malone of Community First UK, which runs the organisation, said the turnaround was essential to help the families who rely on S-Mart.
“We were all set for the opening of BRAND next door and then walked in to this – the ceiling just collapsed and water was pouring in,” said Pauline.
“It had been such a big week for us with the royal visit but we had to think about the people who count on us.
“We moved everything next door so we could get up and running quickly again, and that meant the launch of BRAND being put on hold.
“As an organisation we would have also lost that income so it was really important for us to be able to re-open quickly.”
“The average family shopping here is saving £600 a year and we support over 1,000 families,” she said.
S-Mart reckons it has saved 10 tonnes of food going to waste in the past year, including surplus, over ordered and ‘no longer stocked’ food from big chain supermarkets and local food suppliers.
First year anniversary
Their future plans also include a community café and training kitchen at the rear of their West High Street premises.
“We have achieved and there are things in our five-year plan which we have achieved in the first year,” added Pauline.
“July 4 was the first year anniversary of opening and that was the reason for the weekend launch and celebration.
“But the most important thing was continuing to support the families we help by getting S-Mart back up and running as soon as we could.
“We had an amazing response from people wanting to help and that really made a difference.”
Carol said: “It was a big shock to come in to the flood after being on such a high from the visit of the Earl and Countess of Forfar.
“They were so enthusiastic about what we are doing.
“The Countess does some voluntary work and we feel this is a subject close to her heart.
“We were very impressed with her knowledge of the issues around food insecurity and they seemed impressed with what we have achieved so far and our plans for the future.”