How Rose Vouchers are supporting families in Tower Hamlets

Hear from Melanie, Food Co-op Coordinator from Leaders in Community, one of the fantastic local organisations distributing Rose Vouchers and supporting families to access fresh fruit and veg in their community.

“I’ve worked in preventative medicine as a nutritional therapist and as an organic farmer. I feel I’m joining all this together through the Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg Project and organic food co-op.

On this particular estate, there’s one overpriced corner shop that sells nothing fresh and a fried chicken shop. Food choices are limited. You don’t expect that in central London. I want to reassure all the residents here that we’ll do our best to keep the project and co-op going.

The need here is so great and we are sadly having to turn people away and set up waiting lists to register for Rose Vouchers, as we reached capacity very quickly.

Many families using Rose Vouchers are already well known by our team at Leaders in Community, as they regularly use the Teviot Centre between school pick-ups and their children attend kids’ workshops and activities. We do also have families who have heard about us more recently thanks to the Rose Vouchers project and are now using the food co-op too.

The co-op has a number of very loyal customers. It’s a quiet and calm place to shop, with many families spending all their Rose Vouchers there. We get such positive feedback, with families coming every week. Some families are coming to us specifically because of the organic offer, convenience and how affordable the produce is, they really appreciate that side of it. I now stay open an hour later to accommodate school pick-up, so parents have a chance to shop after school.

I have seen the vouchers making a big difference for families. Their fruit and veg intake has increased and I’ve had young kids commenting on different tastes of cucumber, saying they prefer the taste of the cucumber from our food co-op. It’s amazing to be influencing children from a young age to develop these tastes and grow up with a certain palette and a desire for food that’s going to help keep them well.”