The People’s Supermarket (TPS) co-founder Kate Wickes-Bull has reproached the banking industry for its restrictive lending practices to small and community owned businesses.
Speaking at the launch of its Brick By Brick fund-raising campaign for its second London store, Wickes-Bull said TPS had been left with no choice but to rely on the generosity of local people and private investors.
“Ambitious plans don’t come cheap. To create TPS Hackney we need around £1m. With the banks and financial institutions’ narrow minded approach to supporting community enterprise, we have no option but to seek help from the wider community,” she said.
Once developed, the site, a vacant 40,000 sq ft unit outside Homerton station, “would create jobs, offer volunteering and training opportunities, provide local people with cheaper healthier food and encourage micro businesses to start up,” she added. The project has already received strong support from Hackney council and Viridian Housing Association which owns the unit, but needs hundreds of thousands more if it is to achieve its aim of opening in-time for the Olympics.
“We are hoping to be trading in some form by the beginning of June,” Wickes-Bull added. “The Olympic Games will present us with a huge opportunity particularly given the new store’s enviable position directly outside Homerton station. It’s an opportunity we simply cannot afford to miss,” she added.
The new store, which will feature a mezzanine level café and crèche, will offer full range of groceries including many locally sourced goods.
Around 30 operational shop and kitchen staff would be employed in the store which would also need around 700 volunteers a month in order to function properly.