Case studies

A number of our members have already moved into employment. For some of them, it was just a small step, when they were almost there anyway.

For others, it has been quite a long journey. Many of our members are desperate to get work, and the skills they can get from Community Shop can be that next step for them.

Read some of our recent success stories below, for an idea of how Community Shop is delivering surplus food for social good:

Sometimes it’s not just the financial support that you need.

Sally noticed Community Shop when the pilot store opened in Goldthorpe in December 2013. As a single parent, she had often struggled to make ends meet. She never had any money left over after she paid for the weekly shop and the bills. She would also struggle to find enough money to pay for her daughters extra-curricular activities. But things have really turned around for them both since Sally became a Community Shop member.

Sally noticed Community Shop when the pilot store opened in Goldthorpe in December 2013. As a single parent, she had often struggled to make ends meet. She never had any money left over after she paid for the weekly shop and the bills. She would also struggle to find enough money to pay for her daughters extra-curricular activities. But things have really turned around for them both since Sally became a Community Shop member.

Community Shop has also improved the quality of life for Sally’s family. Since becoming a member, they now eat a more varied and nutritious diet. With access to Community Shop’s low cost goods, they can afford a healthy shop. There’s even money left for her daughter to go to dance classes.

Without the help of Community Shop, I hate to think about the future at this moment in time.

Steve found out about Community Shop through his family. In tough times, he was finding it really hard to find work. Debt was mounting up and he was struggling to manage. Things are still tight, but thanks to Community Shop, the pressure on his finances is starting to ease.

Community Shop has supported Steve to take control of his debts, helping him to contact creditors and arrange alternative repayment options. With Community Hub’s support, he is facing his challenges head on and sorting out his finances. Steve is now working with Citizens Advice Bureau and Wiseability and has also completed the ‘Success Session’ course.

Access to Community Hub support and discounted food is freeing up Steve’s budget and having a transformative impact on his life. He’s been amazed at the savings on the cost of everyday goods at Community Shop, and has also really benefited from having somewhere to socialise while working through his personal development programmes. He now hopes that with the support of Community Shop, he can further develop his skills and manage his debts more effectively.

On Wednesdays, I can’t wait to come across to the Hub.

Stephanie found out about Community Shop when a leaflet landed on her doorstep in October 2013. Since then, her life has changed dramatically. As a child, Stephanie attended a school for those with special educational needs, which she believes hampered her development and knocked her confidence. But with the help of Community Hub, Stephanie is improving her self-esteem and taking control of her life.

Stephanie goes to Community Hub every Wednesday to attend personal development training, a day which she refers to as ‘her day’ – away from the family and other commitments.

Additionally, access to low cost goods has given Stephanie that extra bit of help with her family budget. Every day goods cost up to two-thirds less at Community Shop than their usual retail price. She told us “I can’t believe how much I can put in my basket.” Thanks to Community Shop, Stephanie is now looking forward to an exciting and positive future.

Before, I used to sit in the house for days as I suffer with my nerves.

Beth was one of our first Community Shop members. She saw the adverts in the local library, and was one of the early adopters of the Community Hub services. Now she is seeing the benefits of joining not just for the low-cost food, but also for the variety of services which helped her to make positive changes to her life after going through a difficult few years. She is now a Community Hub pioneer, and encourages others who need a little extra help to come and see for themselves what Community Shop has to offer.

When Beth came to Community Shop, she was struggling to pay her weekly bills. She found leading a healthy lifestyle difficult, with little income to spend on food, and her self-confidence was suffering after a tough few years. But with her drive to improve her situation and the help of the Community Hub services, she is getting back on her feet.

Beth wanted to make positive changes, one of which was to work towards sustaining a healthy weight. Slimming clubs and programmes can be expensive and unaffordable for those on a low income. But through Community Hub, Beth is participating in health training every Tuesday, which is helping her to lead a healthier lifestyle and work towards her goal.

She also comes into the Hub every Thursday for help with her debt. Additionally, Beth is now attending a course at college where she is learning how to mentor others who have similar issues to overcome themselves. She has benefited from being in the sociable atmosphere that the Hub offers, and is now able to talk to people better, something which her nerves prevented her from doing before. Thanks to Community Shop, Beth is making small, positive changes which is having a big impact on her life.

Now I’m able to feed my kids.

Doreen originally became a Community Shop member to see if Community Hub could help her to find work, and is now taking part in various training and skills sessions in addition to personal development programmes. Like a few of our members, Doreen suffered with low-confidence, and was stuck in a cycle of not leaving the house. After a short period of time working at the Hub, she is now a peer mentor, helping others to improve their skills and overcome issues.

Doreen was struggling with money to the point where she often would not eat, and would struggle to feed her two children too. Now she has access to low-cost food, her and her family eat three proper meals a day, not just the beans and chips they had been used to.

Doreen was one of the first people to go on the four week success programme. The first week focuses on self-confidence and self-esteem, the second, debt and finances, the third on careers and the fourth on interview skills and job applications. She went on the programme to help her develop the necessary skills to get a new job.

Community Shop helps Doreen get out of the house and make friends in the community. Now, as a peer mentor, she is helping others to help themselves too.

I have got to meet lots of new people. The cheap food has become a bonus.

Jennifer first heard about Community Shop through word of mouth round the local community. While she joined for the access to low-cost food, she has since benefited from the services at Community Hub.

Jennifer used to spend most of her time hidden away indoors due to her low self-confidence, and lack of money to go out and do things. She wouldn’t make the effort to look nice and take care of herself, as to her, there hadn’t been much reason to. But the transformation in Jennifer has been incredible. She is working on her confidence, meeting new people, and taking pride in her appearance. She joined the ‘Work Works’ programme at Community Hub, a business planning group for those looking to potentially start their own business. Jennifer now feels better in herself, and is more confident going out and socialising with all the new people she is meeting.

Jennifer’s aim is ultimately to get herself a great job. With the hard work she is putting into the personal development programme, the Community Hub staff have no doubt that it won’t be long until this becomes reality.

Knowing that someone cares makes me feel better.

Paula joined Community Shop when a difficult few months left her struggling to make ends meet. She felt lonely after going through a separation, and saw how Community Shop could not only help her afford everyday essentials, but also help her to keep in touch with the local community.

Paula now saves a substantial amount on her weekly shop. She is able to buy items which most of us would take for granted that we can afford, but to Paula were luxuries – like yoghurts. With access to good, wholesome food at low prices, Paula has improved her diet, and her health is benefiting. She now takes more pride in her appearance, and she attends the personal development programme available at Community Shop, which she says has improved her confidence and self-esteem.

Paula is fantastic at crafts, and with the help of the Community Hub staff, she now delivers craft sessions to families during half-term. In the future, she would love to have her own business, selling greetings cards and putting her impressive talent to good use.

Since becoming a member of the Hub, Paula has made a strong group of friends. She is looking forward to continuing with the friendships she has made. Paula hopes to carry on making improvements in her life, and get even more involved with Community Hub.