Traders at Ridley Road Market have accepted more than 3,000 vouchers to support families on low incomes to access fresh fruit and vegetables.
In 2014, Rose Vouchers, from the Alexandra Rose Charity, were introduced to help families on low incomes buy fresh produce from local markets and save money on their weekly shop. Previously just three traders accepted the vouchers however in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Rose Vouchers are now accepted by all Ridley Rd traders as they help the community stay stocked up on essential healthy food.
In the space of 10 days over 3000 vouchers were used and market officers have been working with traders to help process them faster to ensure they receive their payments. This has also allowed traders to concentrate on serving customers during the new opening hours of 8am – 3pm and as they navigate the social distancing measures including a patrolled queuing system and 2-meter floor markings.
To be eligible for Rose Vouchers families should meet the criteria for the Healthy Start voucher scheme for pregnant women and families in receipt of benefits. They will then receive £3 of Rose Vouchers per child per week or £6 if the child is under one year old.
Rose Vouchers were founded in 1912 by Denmark’s Queen Alexandra who was consort of the UK, whose charity (Alexandra Rose Charity) was established to support Londoners in poverty. Inspired by a priest in Denmark selling roses to raise money for those in need, Queen Alexandra brought the idea to the UK and used her inspiration to form the name. In 2014 they turned their focus to tackling food poverty and introduced the vouchers across local markets to help families provide fresh fruit and vegetables for children.
Families who attended former Rose Voucher evaluation sessions reported that not only did the vouchers provide extra income, but that shopping at the market meant they saved over £30 a week. Parents also talked up the health benefits they noticed thanks to introducing more fresh food to their diets. One parent said: “Now I am so happy because my boys are eating broccoli, cauliflower, okra, spinach. The lady at my market stall knows that I like spinach that I can cut so that it grows again and makes my money go further.”
Notes for editors:
For more information on the Rose Voucher scheme visit alexandrarose.org.uk
To be eligible for Rose Vouchers families should meet the criteria for the Healthy Start voucher scheme.
More information on Hackney’s markets and how to sign up to be a trader is on the Hackney Council website.
Read Ridley Rd: Know the facts for more information on the £1.5m investment and FAQs on the future plans of Hackneys historical market.
Ridley Road market is the only council-run food market that remains open during the coronavirus lockdown. Opening hours at 8am – 3pm. You must be in the queue by 2.30pm.