[PHOTO: East Street Market trader, Cllr Richard Livingstone, Nicola Howard, Jonathan Pauling and Lisa York]

On Friday 30th November we held a Christmas celebration event of the Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg Project on East Street Market.

There were activities for all the family, including: Cook & Eat sessions run by dieticians from Evelina London, where children could learn about nutritious food and make a veggie pitta pocket or Christmas fruit salad. Families from 1st Place Children’s Centre visited the market to collect their weekly Rose Vouchers to be spent on fruit & veg at the market and new families were given vouchers to try out on the day.

To get everyone fully into the Christmas spirit those on the market were also treated to carols performed by local school children from Robert Browning Primary, culminating with the Christmas lights being switched on by Cllr Lorraine Lauder MBE. 

The Rose Vouchers project has been operating in Southwark since May 2018. During that time the project has supported over 120 families to access a healthy diet, with over £8,000 worth of vouchers redeemed to date on East Street Market. With support from 1st Place Children’s Centre, the Southwark Markets Team and the market traders, the Rose Vouchers project will be reaching up to 250 families over the coming year.

Cllr Richard Livingstone, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport Management and Air Quality, said: “It’s great to see how the Rose Vouchers Project is helping local families and putting money back into our local markets. East Street Market is a fantastic community resource, helping families access healthy food at affordable prices. It was great to see this project in action.”

Jonathan Pauling, Chief Executive of Alexandra Rose Charity said “We believe that everyone should have access to affordable and healthy food in their local area. We know that our project is hugely successful at getting families with young children to eat more fruit and veg and we have seen the improvements in health and wellbeing that the project achieves in Southwark. It is wonderful to see so many groups coming together to celebrate the importance of fruit and veg and this fantastic street market.”

The project in Southwark is being funded as part of a wider programme by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity and supported by Southwark Council, bringing together impactful activity to tackle childhood obesity across Southwark and Lambeth.

A parent living in Southwark who receives Rose Vouchers said “My 3 year old is now much more used to eating vegetables.  More available so tries more. Not so worried if he doesn’t eat it – not a waste as not cash so I’m more likely to keep trying – then he gets used to it.”

Another parent said: “I go more often to the market and less to the supermarket.  The vouchers give me more incentive to use the market – I used to go but stopped.  They encouraged me to give the market a go again.”