Southwark Market Traders help families access fresh fruit & veg

Over the last three years, market traders in Southwark have helped over 1,000 local families to access over £250,000 worth of fruit and vegetables through the Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg Project.

Initially launching at East Street Market in 2018 and since expanding to include market traders in Peckham, there are now 12 independent traders supporting the project in the borough.

The Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg Project helps families across the UK access a healthy diet and avoid food poverty. The project partners with local Children’s Centres, giving families vouchers to exchange for fresh fruit and veg from local market traders.

To celebrate the contribution that market traders make to the success of the project and the valuable service they provide to the wider community by making healthy food accessible and affordable to all, we held a celebration event on East Street Market on 28th September 2021.

This celebration is the culmination of a nine month project working with retail consultants Rice Marketing to engage market traders, resulting in market traders improving how they commute the Rose Vouchers project to customers, as well as the introduction of newly branded price-sticks, which were co-designed with traders. A price survey conducted as part of this work showed that fruit and veg at the market is an incredible 66% cheaper than from the neighouring supermarket

Despite the rain, the Alexandra Rose Charity team, with 1st Place Children & Parents’ Centre and the market traders, had a brilliant day speaking to families. They promoted the Rose Vouchers for Fruit and Veg Project and offered free fruit and veg to children. A highlight was a fantastic cooking demonstration by Annika from Nika’s Kitchen, offering a range of delicious food for families to try.

1st Place Children & Parent’s Centre have been the lead project partner since the project was launched in the borough. Their tireless work supporting families to access the project and engaging wider project partners has meant that over 1,000 families have been able to benefit from better access to healthy food at a time when this is more important than ever.

“At 1st Place, we know how important it is for young families to have access to a healthy and nutritious diet to give children the best possible start in life. Fortunately, Southwark has street markets like East Street that provide a fantastic array of healthy food. However, many of our families need financial support to make sure that they can afford to feed their children. As the lead partner for the Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg Project in Southwark, we are proud to support over 1,000 families to access fresh fruit and veg. We see first-hand the impact that this initiative has on their lives.”

Nicola Howard, Director, 1st Place Children & Parents’ Centre

“We believe that everyone should have access to a healthy, sustainable, local food economy. Since January this year, we have been working with Rice Retail Marketing to support the traders in Southwark to increase their income and attract a whole new generation of customers through the Rose Vouchers Project. The long term health of local communities relies on their ability to access healthy and affordable food easily. We want local stakeholders to realise what a key public health service Southwark’s local market traders provide.”

Jonathan Pauling, Chief Executive, Alexandra Rose Charity

“Market traders are a vital partner for Alexandra Rose and it was important that they understood the commercial and community benefits of being part of the project. We have worked closely with them to drive sales and improve standards resulting in new terms and conditions being adopted by all traders. We have increased voucher redemption by an incredible 10% since December 2020, with 9 out of 10 vouchers given out now being spent.”

Stephanie Rice, Rice Retail Marketing