Electronic store

A community grocery store and youth club will open in vacant units in the Sleaford shopping district

Vacant units in Riverside Precinct, Sleaford. EMN-220404-125427001

Charity Sleaford New Life Church with its Community Impact Team, which offers many different community activities for the area, has signed up to take over unoccupied units at the rear of the center off Southgate and will transform part of space in community grocery store.

The store, slated to open in June, will collect excess food from sources such as retailers or manufacturers. People will pay an annual fee and then be able to buy up to £25 worth of goods for just £5. They will also be able to take advantage of recipe cards and demonstrations illustrating culinary know-how.

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New Life Community Impact also submitted a change of use request to turn another part of the building into a space for the city’s youth. If granted, it would become home to Sleaford Youth Club, currently based at Sleaford Children’s Centre. This would allow the charity to grow and offer activities on weekdays and during school holidays.

Vacant units in Riverside Precinct, Sleaford. REM-220404-125408001

Volunteer team leader Rod Munro said he was already running the Sleaford Community Larder and had identified the need for another service to help those who were supporting themselves. “The community grocery store will be open to everyone and members will be able to access products that are still usable at low prices.

He added: “At the youth club, we are getting too big for our current space. We have around 70 young people attending on Fridays, taking part in activities such as cooking, art and games. The pandemic has had a huge impact on young people in terms of anxiety. We are keen to reach out and provide a safe place for young people to go after school and during school holidays.

The scheme receives £3,000 in seed funding from the Lincolnshire Police Mutual Gain Scheme for community projects.

Rod said the charity has other plans for the site, including space for mental health support groups, as well as outreach counseling services for issues such as utilities, budgeting , digital and employment support.

New Life Community Larder will use Mutual Gain grant money to start a community grocery store in Riverside Precinct. The Pantry’s Anna Maltby and Rod Munro are pictured at right. Photo: Lincs Police EMN-220330-170512001

“The Riverside Center is a great place because it’s accessible and we think there’s a lot of potential,” he said. “In addition to paid staff, we have a team of over 180 volunteers for all of our activities and there will also be other volunteering and learning opportunities.”

The Lincolnshire Co-op owns the center which is run by agents Banks Long and Co.

Co-op regional property manager Ed Greaves said: “We are delighted to be able to help New Life Community Impact provide more services in Sleaford.

“The charity’s work with the food bank, youth club and more is appreciated by the community. These new premises will allow the dedicated team and volunteers to reach even more people.

Phil Robbins of Sleaford Fight Academy – one of the new tenants at Riverside Precinct (above Costa.). EMN-220504-161925001

Recent rentals at the Riverside Center include the Sleaford Fight Academy, which offers classes in a range of martial arts, and a Post and Packing service which will open soon. They join Sleaford Post Office, Press 2 Play games and videos, Envy hairdressers, Dixon opticians, Mobile Phone Tech, Card Factory, Dee’s Gifts, Costa Coffee and Sole Therapy podiatrists.

There is local interest in the remaining two units and it is hoped that more rentals will take place over the next few weeks. James Butcher, of Banks Long and Co, said: “We have worked to bring new services to the center over the years during difficult times for the commercial property industry. It’s great to see more organizations and businesses coming to the Riverside Center to join our existing tenants.

Sleaford Postmaster Lee Taylor at the new post office he opened in Riverside Precinct last year. REM-220504-161851001