“I’m more open to trying different things now” – SDCA community supermarkets evaluation published for 2023

The 2023 evaluation report for the Peacehaven & Newhaven Community Supermarkets reflects on the challenges and opportunities of alternative models of community food support. 

SCDA runs two community supermarkets in Newhaven and Peacehaven, supporting over 220 households each week to access free and affordable food. As opposed to traditional foodbank models, the supermarkets operate on a pay-as-you-feel model, giving participants the opportunity to contribute where they can. They also offer a wide-range of choice through their market-style stalls of different food and hygiene items, as well as a community cafe and social space. 

Through a series of surveys and interviews with supermarket members, authors highlight the challenges faced by members throughout the cost of living crisis. The report also illustrates how much members value the choice of food on offer, pay-as-you-feel model and social aspect of the service.


Key take-homes: 

1 – The cost of living crisis has had a severe impact on community supermarket members

‘It’s almost going back to Dickensian times… it’s a horrible situation we’re in now.’ – Peacehaven Community Supermarket member

3 – Having a choice of food matters to community supermarket members and encourages them to try new foods

 ‘I’m more open to trying different things now’ – Newhaven Community Supermarket member

The majority of customers agreed or strongly agreed that the community supermarket helped them prepare healthy meals, 64% in Peacehaven and 76% in Newhaven. 


2 – Members appreciate the social space of the community supermarket 


 ‘I didn’t really like the first day but I look forward to it now because the people are so
nice you know, everybody’s so lovely but nice to see the same people again.’
– Newhaven Community Supermarket member


4 – Members appreciate the pay-as-you-feel model

‘It takes away the erm… tendency or feeling of need a little bit… if you’ve got the choice to contribute and you’re not being judged on how much you contribute then it works for the charity and it also works for the people using it’ – Peacehaven Community Supermarket member

5 – Friendly and helpful volunteers and staff make all the difference  

‘They’re so lovely there and like it’s always a surprise, you never know what you’re going to get so yeah, they are they are so sweet and so helpful’ – Newhaven Community Supermarket member

For more information about the community supermarkets at SCDA, contact food@sussexcommunity.org.uk

With thanks to report authors, Hilda Mulrooney, Ronald Ranta, Nevena Nancheva, Sarah Sumpter and Dee Bhakta.

Pictures taken from the LDFP Sustainable Food Places Bronze Award tour to the Newhaven and Peacehaven community supermarkets and Denton Island Community Kitchen. Well done to the Seahaven Community Food team and dedicated volunteers for their work building more inclusive, sustainable and joyful access to food in Lewes District.

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