A SOCIAL supermarket has grown as it has seen demand soar over 2023.

Poole Waste Not Want Not helped 590 households in 2023, up from 424 in 2022.

The members-only supermarket offers everything any other would, at a price of between 50 and 75 per cent of usual products.

This year has seen the charity grow to offer a wider range of services beyond just food and drink.

As families struggle with the cost-of-living crisis, Waste Not Want Not has seen an increase in working families coming to use the store as they can’t afford things including school uniforms.

Bournemouth Echo: Erika Sloper (R) with members of the Waste Not Want Not team.

Project manager Erika Sloper said they are seeing dual-income families coming in, as bills, rent and mortgages rise.

“We are kind of the step in between a food bank, and a supermarket, so we give the choice of any other supermarket but supporting them with a budget they can afford,” she said.

“We’ve found more and more this year, it’s not just them coming in to ask for food, it's actually asking, they’re struggling to buy school clothes, children are going to the next school up and they need a whole new uniform.

“On top of all of that, it’s basics like mums coming in in tears because it’s their daughter’s birthday and they’ve got no money to buy them presents or even a birthday cake.”

Bournemouth Echo: The charity has also opened a cafe in the shop.

The supermarket works with those that use the service to make sure they can afford enough food for their families.

Erika described how if a mother comes into the shop with £20 for her family’s food for a week, they would make sure that she leaves with all the food she needs.

“I had one lady come in yesterday who said 'I can’t believe we can eat like a king tonight because we’ve got so much food from us here, that is just a real treat',” Erika said.Bournemouth Echo: A team from B&Q in Poole volunteered to help redecorate the supermarket.

In 2023, the charity’s coffee shop has also opened to support people on low income and members of the public, reducing isolation and raising awareness of its work.

Erika added: “We’ve been very fortunate from Dorset Community Foundation, of a grant to support our members if they can’t afford the energy, we give them a free air fryer, soup kettle or steamer to help them cook wholesome fresh foods at home.”