Hear from Mark Richardson, Chair of the North End Road Action Group.
“I think my main interest in the concept of vouchers for fruit and veg came from hearing about the work of Wholesome Wave in the USA, where vouchers for fruit and veg were used to support families on low incomes to shop at farmers’ markets. I thought this was a brilliant concept. It showed that people need to relearn about markets, particularly those who need them the most.
I first heard about The Rose Vouchers for Fruit and Veg Project in 2014 when I read an article in NABMA magazine and contacted Alexandra Rose Charity to see if you could bring the project to North End Road Market in Hammersmith and Fulham. We got funding and got the Hammersmith and Fulham Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg Project set up.
The project has brought a lot of extra money into local markets in the area, which is much needed. It’s also brought in younger shoppers, helping to keep markets alive.
In the beginning, one of the main barriers was the market traders not wanting to deal with bank transfers as payment for the Rose Vouchers they received, as although the vouchers benefit the traders financially, it’s also extra work, but now traders see joining the project as giving back to the local community.
All traders are concerned about being part of the community. We have a very diverse community at North End Road Market, and the market traders do feel very embedded in it. We owe it to our customers to be there.
Giving families the ability to buy fruit and veg has changed the lives of many local people. Rose Vouchers are introducing families to different meals and broadening their diets. The vouchers are allowing families to have fresh fruit and veg. A lot of the traders wished they’d had it for their children.
The involvement with the children’s centres is very good too. From my point of view, having the Rose Vouchers for Fruit and Veg Project at North End Road is a win, win, win situation.
The project is enormously beneficial to the market. It’s brought new people here and given the traders a certain amount of esteem, knowing they are giving back. Rose Vouchers are absolutely essential.”