More than 8000 sugar cubes eliminated in convenience store healthy food pilot  

Two Bermondsey shops are among five independent convenience stores in Southwark which have increased the healthy options available to consumers as part of a pilot scheme.

The Good Food Retail Plan is a pilot funded by the Greater London Authority, Sustain and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity to ensure that more Londoners have access to healthy, affordable food.

As part of the project the shop owners were supported to identify opportunities for increasing the healthy options available in their store. This could range from repositioning items, using different recipes to carrying new healthy lines of food and drinks.  

The scheme recognises that convenience stores play a vital role in their local communities as many customers use them on a daily basis to top up their food shopping.

The pilot stores all represent different types of store from the smaller neighbourhood store to the larger independent supermarket. Across all stores, regardless of square-footage, all store managers demonstrated that healthy changes could be made. 

The shops involved in the pilot are:

  • Nisa Local, Southwark Park Road 
  • St James Supermarket, Southwark Park Road 
  • Church News, New Church Road
  • Turkish Food Stores, Lordship Lane 
  • Nisa Day One, Camberwell Church Street

Across the fives stores over 50 new healthy lines have been introduced as well as selling more single fruits as healthy snacks. Nisa Local in Bermondsey switched to a no sugar slush puppie recipe resulting in a saving of approximately 80,000 calories from sales between July and September, equivalent to over 8,000 sugar cubes. Following the introduction of three new lines, wholemeal bread now makes up 20 per cent of bakery sales at the same store.

These stores are run by independent retailers who purchase their stock from their local cash and carry. They choose their range based on what they think their customers demand is rather than necessarily on whether the products are healthy. 

Cllr Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for community safety and public health, said: “It is really fantastic to see the commitment from these five shop owners to make a difference in the health of our residents. These shops exemplify how small changes can have a big impact on the choices people make.

“The role that local shops play in the lives of our residents cannot be underestimated and it’s so important that as much as possible there are healthy options available. These shop owners have proven that our residents do want healthy options and I hope other store owners will follow their lead.”

Ali, owner of Nisa Local Southwark Park Road said: “I eat quite healthily myself and I’m quite passionate about [healthy eating]. I wanted to get involved; it’s something I believe in as well. A lot of kids come here after schools so we wanted to offer them healthier things to eat so we put single pieces of fruit at the front that people can just take and go, non- salted nuts, sugar free drinks things like that. According to our sales data all these things that we’ve introduced into the store are selling, there’s a market for people that are more health conscious and want to eat healthy.”

Plans to revitalise the Blue have received a £2.3 million boost from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund.

The funds will help Southwark Council, the Blue Bermondsey Business Improvement District and Community Opportunity continue their work to enhance the market and cluster of shops at the heart of South Bermondsey.

City Hall says that the grant will support efforts to “turn Bermondsey’s historic town centre and street market into a thriving area, building on the Blue’s identity as the ‘Larder of London’”.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “These projects aim to give Londoners of all backgrounds the opportunity to be actively involved in shaping how their city grows and delivering more places to live, learn, work and play.

“I’m so impressed by the range of bids we received – this is testament to the creativity and ingenuity in London’s diverse communities.

“I’m committed to supporting ‘good growth’ by building a city where all Londoners have access to the same opportunities and I look forward to seeing all the positive impacts these projects will have in the future.”

Hawker House Canada Water

Hawker House – the street food emporium in the former WHAT!!! stores building at Canada Water – has applied to extend its planning permission till the end of 2019.

Street Feast, the venue’s operator, says in its application to Southwark Council:

Hawker House has operated successfully at Canada Water for two and a half years and has become established as a popular community asset on a site that would otherwise remain unoccupied. Surveys of Hawker House customers undertaken by the applicant have shown that approximately 4 in 10 of the visitors come from the local area. Four in 10 of Hawker House’s staff also live locally.

The applicant now expects the property to be available for an extended period than originally expected, and is therefore seeking to extend the existing planning permission on the same terms as those previously granted.

Full details at 18/AP/0889.

Hawker House retained its licence last autumn despite objections from nearby residents.

Hawker House Canada Water

Hawker House – the street food emporium in the former WHAT!!! stores building at Canada Water – successfully retained its licence after a hearing at Southwark’s licensing sub-committee on Monday. Read all the committee documents – including neighbour objections – here.

Hawker House is part of Street Feast, whose founder Jonathan Downey has made outspoken comments about the local residents who objected to the licence being renewed.

Surrey Quays is giving 16 to 24-year-olds the chance to embark on a free five-week training programme, designed to provide them with the skills they need to build a successful career in retail or hospitality.

The ‘Bright Lights Starting Out in Retail and Hospitality’ programme gets under way in October and will combine classroom teaching alongside work placements at one of Surrey Quays’ retail, food and beverage or leisure brands. At the end of the scheme, trainees will receive their formal qualifications at an official celebration event later this year.

Throughout the course, trainees will also get access to training from industry experts, support with interviews and CV writing, as well as a personal mentor.

The new programme will be funded by Surrey Quays’ owner British Land. It will be delivered in partnership with The Source Skills Academy – a leading centre of excellence for retail and customer service training.

To take part, young people need to sign up to the taster session on 4 October, which will provide them with a flavour of what the programme will involve and an opportunity to speak to some of the course leaders.

Ian Moore, centre manager at Surrey Quays, said: “The Bright Lights Starting Out in Retail and Hospitality programme is a fantastic way for young, unemployed people in Southwark to discover their potential and gain valuable experience of what it’s like to work in the dynamic retail and hospitality sectors.

“The programme coincides with busy recruitment periods at the centre so we, together with our retailers, can’t wait to welcome the new trainees and offer them on-the-job training and support so they can really kickstart their careers.”

Dianne Wainwright, Head of Operations at The Source Skills Academy, said: “We’re giving local young people the chance to obtain nationally recognised qualifications and work experience at some of the country’s biggest retail and hospitality brands.

“We urge Southwark’s young jobseekers to sign up to attend our taster session on 4thOctober, where they’ll get the chance to learn more about the course and hear about our many success stories first-hand.”

To find out more information or sign up to the taster session, email [email protected] or call 0114 263 5619.