Hear from Mark Richardson, Chair of the North End Road Action Group.
“I think my main interest in the whole 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 in Brooklyn. I thought this was brilliant. 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 and got in touch with Alexandra Rose Charity, to see if they could bring the project to North End Road Market in Hammersmith and Fulham. We got funding and got going.
I was really pleased that the main idea behind The Rose Vouchers for Fruit and Veg Project is to use markets. This has brought a lot of extra money into local markets, which is needed. It’s also brought in younger shoppers, helping 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. Traders see joining the project as giving it back to the 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 here.
Giving families the ability to buy fruit and veg, has changed the lives of a lot of people. Rose Vouchers are introducing families to different meals and broadening their diets. The vouchers are giving families the opportunity to have access to 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 to the market and given the traders a certain amount of esteem, feeling they are giving back to the community. Rose Vouchers are absolutely essential.”