Express & Star

First anniversary of community shop marked by volunteers

A shop helping people to cope with the cost of living crisis has celebrated a milestone birthday.

Bilston Community Shop manager John Raj celebrates the shop’s first birthday with the volunteers who made it all possible.

Bilston Community Shop, one of a network across Wolverhampton, marked its first anniversary to thank the volunteers who’ve worked so hard to make it a success.

Over the last year, the shop has established itself in the community and has built a membership of 1500 with people coming from all over the city to use it.

There’s a network of six community shops currently, which were devised to help provide good quality, nutritious food for all at reasonable prices, which has particularly helped during the current cost of living crisis.

The Community Shop scheme in Wolverhampton has seen more than 4,500 people sign up as members, paying a membership fee, which varies between venues, and make an average of £30 per week savings on their weekly shopping.

The scheme was created by Wolverhampton Council, which made an initial investment on £175,000 in five shops spread around the city, and is providing ongoing support, expertise and resources.

Shop manager, John Raj said: "It’s been an amazing year, extremely busy and challenging, but incredibly rewarding.

"We have a strong team of volunteers, who work very hard to keep Bilston Community Shop fully stocked and functional.

"I would like to thank the team for being amazing and working so tirelessly behind the scenes over the past year."

There will be eight shops in total by next year, with a flagship shop opening soon in the city centre.

Executive Director of Families, Emma Bennett said: "The community shops have made a huge contribution over the last year by providing quality food at great prices.

"The council is grateful to all of the managers like John at Bilston and the army of volunteers, who have made the shops such a success.

"I’d urge anyone who lives in the city to pop in and check out what’s on offer."

To find out more about the nearest shop and for other support Wolverhampton Council is providing during the cost of living crisis, visit the cost of living pages at

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