Whitley Bay Big Local launches new social supermarket

Local resident-led charity, Whitley Bay Big Local has officially launched a new affordable food club.

Community-led charity, Whitley Bay Big Local, found its home on Whitley Road in 2023. Since then, the vibrant Community Hub has offered a range of activities and services to residents of North Tyneside.

The charity was already providing emergency food provision to residents, but now, in a move to increase the sustainability and impact of support, has transformed its offer into an on-site social supermarket.

Residents can shop from a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, bakery items, tins and dried goods, to the value of £10 - for just £5.

The social supermarket, running on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, officially launched in January and is complimented by a funded community cooking initiative.

Chief Executive Officer at Whitley Bay Big Local, David Carnaffan, said: “Whitley Bay Hub is delighted to have received funding from North Tyneside Council to develop a community shop.

“The idea of the shop is to prevent people falling into food crisis by offering healthy essentials at an affordable price.

“Our shop offers fresh fruit and vegetables, household essentials, bakery products and tinned goods. 

“We currently have over 75 members and numbers are growing each week.”

Councillor Karen Clark, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at North Tyneside Council, said: “Charities like Whitley Bay Big Local are at the heart of communities in North Tyneside, offering a safe and welcoming space for our residents.

“The rising cost of living has impacted many of our residents, and we as a Council are committed to offering as much support as we can, but this wouldn’t be possible without organisations like The Big Local.

“The choice and dignity affordable food provisions offer residents cannot be understated, and I’m grateful to The Big Local and other charities like it that are working with us to provide necessary support.”

The social supermarket is one of five newly launched provisions in North Tyneside since January 2024; thanks to funding afforded by North Tyneside Council’s Community Food Grant, whereby local organisations could access funding to open food support in their area.

The Whitley Bay Big Local social supermarket is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10am - 2pm, and Wednesdays 3 – 6pm.

Annual Membership is £5, with free membership for those receiving Universal Credit. Shoppers can load their membership card from as little as £3.

Whitley Bay Big Local can be found at 158 Whitley Road, Whitley Bay, NE26 2LY.

A full map of food support in North Tyneside is available here.