Testimonials from East Street Market families

“I never experienced markets before the Rose Vouchers. Now my 4-and-a-half-year-old daughter drinks juice and makes it herself — with supervision. Before, she never used to try anything other than water. Now she goes with her own bag to the colourful market stalls and picks up her own fruit and veggies. The traders are really helpful and friendly, they do the whole transaction with her. She’s so happy to pay with the vouchers because they’re colourful.

It’s so much fun for her to pick her own veggies, especially during COVID. Sometimes we just go because she enjoys it. Supermarkets are not the same.”

Renata, Southwark, shops at East Street and Peckham

“The fruit and veg from the Rose Vouchers contribute to all our meals. We are a lot healthier, and we eat a lot healthier because we can afford to. The kids now have fruit in the morning and afternoon. A lot of the things they sell in the market you can’t get as an African woman from other places. The range of fruit and veg is great. You can buy food from your country, like red bell peppers.

I think the Rose Voucher scheme is incredible and it’s made a huge difference to how healthy my family can eat. Healthy Start isn’t enough. Because you can only use them at the supermarket and at supermarket prices. You buy milk and grapes and they’re gone. You don’t see the difference. I tell everyone abou them. Now I eat healthy – actively and continuously. Now I’m guaranteed to have my fresh fruit and veg.”

Mariam, Southwark, shopped at East Street every week for two years

“The Rose Vouchers contribute to my lunch, dinner, snacks — all of them. My three kids love fruit. Everyday they eat fruit and veg. Before I wasn’t able to get broccoli, sprouts, okra, papaya — it used to be three pounds something for one. The vouchers have helped us a lot. I can have lots of fruit now, I can get them. We have enough.

People at the market are very friendly too. I like it when they have the signs out. Seeing it means I don’t have to ask if they accept it. It makes me less self-conscious using them. You know what to do instead of having to ask, it makes things clearer. Before I wasn’t sure if the Rose Vouchers were only for some tables, or if all the fruit and veg displayed could be bought with them. The signs make me more confident and comfortable using the vouchers.

We also do more indoor activities and excercise. On Friday’s after school, I stay in the park just for my kids to run around and play. On weekends we go out in the park. I have been jogging around with the three children, including the pushchair, and people around us smile and say well done.”

Elene, Southwark, shopped every week at East Street for a year

“I like that I get to buy more in season fruit and get more amounts for £1. The people working at the markets are also very kind, friendly, talking with me all the time. Some are from the Middle East, but they sometimes try to speak in Spanish with me as I am Spanish-speaking. They will say hello in Spanish for example. It’s very welcoming. When I go to East Street Market, they’re like my friends.”

Mum, Southwark, shopped every week at East Street for a year

“Since starting Rose Vouchers it has made a big difference. I’m not confident cooking, and my children are fussy eaters. My eldest is a fussy eater and now my 2-year-old is getting fussy. My eldest son won’t try anything new and then will stop liking the things that he did like before. Banana’s can end up wasted if they’ve got any brown spots, apple’s if they’re not cut up in the specific way the kids want it. Vegetables are the most difficult ones. But the Rose Vouchers mean I am more adventurous with what I buy. I branch out and try new things. The vouchers are good because I know they are eating their 5-a-day.

I’m not confident with cooking and shopping and I’ve only recently felt confident shopping at other places other than supermarkets. I’m still too unsure about shopping at places like the butcher’s because I wouldn’t know what to ask for. But since joining the Rose Vouchers project I’ve cooked curries, a lot of pasta, stuff I would have never done. I’ve learned the basics from taking a food training programme in lockdown and budget cooks like Jack Monroe. I’m developing my confidence with cooking and nutrition.”

Mum, Southwark, shops at East Street two to three times a week

“The food from the Rose Vouchers contributes to all three of my meals a day, for us and for the children. All my three meals a day come from East Street.

Thank you and thank you. We appreciate it so much, it makes such a difference to my family and those who can’t walk a longer distance to get food.”

Mum, Southwark, has shopped every week at East Street for two years