Near Salford Quays and Ordsall, sits Oasis Academy: MediaCityUK. It’s a secondary school serving over 1,000 pupils from the area. However, as well as a school, the site also hosts the Oasis Community Hub. They have been a member of FareShare Greater Manchester since 2022.
Although they have been operating for a number of years, they sprung up providing emergency food during the pandemic. They’ve been cooking meals in the hub kitchen and delivering them to homes in the area. It’s been a huge help for families who weren’t able to get out themselves.
As the pandemic restrictions drew to a close, and the world opened up again, the Oasis team wanted to do something a little bit different. They opened a Community Food Store in July 2022, serving the local areas of Ordsall and Langworthy. Membership is open to everyone. Some members are school parents but most value the Hub for its community feel, regardless of school affiliation.
In the first week, only six visited the Food Store, but by mid-July 2023, over 25 families attend weekly, with 60 members. Members can join for £5 annually and then shop weekly for £3.50 per visit.
At this cost, members access 10-12 items from dry storage, fridges, and freezers. Fresh produce and bread are free, promoting healthy eating through Oasis team efforts. They like being able to give members the choice of what they believe their family will eat.
As time has gone on, the team have seen more members engaging with other projects in the Hub. This includes their Toddler groups and the Talk English Cafe, as well as finding a sense of belonging in the community food store itself. Others use the cafe space as a place to meet and socialise before picking up their week’s shopping. Other projects to widen the offer are in the pipeline, including cooking and fitness classes.
Building that sense of community is incredibly important to the whole team, with an emphasis on making sure that what the members of what that community want to see is represented. They’re constantly trying to get feedback on what they do, and want the space to be one where people can feel at home.
“We wouldn’t be able to open without FareShare. It helps us introduce eyes and minds to new foods and meals, and the money we save by purchasing from FareShare lets us top-up our Store from elsewhere, to give people a great range.” – Hannah Miller, Hub Leader