A year on from its official opening, 700 residents on low incomes have signed up for membership of the Citizens’ Supermarket ‘Number 7’  in Birkenhead precinct.

Members pay one third of what they would in a regular supermarket for a range of high-quality fresh, chilled, ambient, and frozen goods, almost all of which are sourced from retailers’ and manufacturers’ surplus stock.

The average weekly saving to members is £27.54 and, on top of this they are given advice and support to deal with underlying issues, such as debt and benefit problems, which leave them struggling to afford food.

During its first year, and as part of the Feeding Birkenhead, Supporting Wirral network, Number 7 has also:

• Supplied 14 schools with food to sustain their breakfast clubs

• Provided free meals for members’ children during school holidays

• Provided free breakfasts for homeless people each week

• Created new employment and volunteering opportunities, in partnership with Wirral Council and Wirral Metropolitan College.

Andy Pilling, general manager of Number 7, said: "We have a terrific group of staff and volunteers who strive to deliver a first-class service, both for members using the Citizens’ Supermarket and for customers using the community café.

"Our shared passion is to provide fresh, healthy, affordable food to everyone in our area, and to help deal with any deep-rooted issues that prevent people being able to access and afford decent food for themselves and their families."

The town's former MP Frank Field, who chairs Feeding Birkenhead, Supporting Wirral, said: "Number 7’s achievements are a testament to the wonderful work done by the team led by Andy.

"The next task is to seek out donors who would wish to see the establishment of more Citizens’ Supermarkets, to replicate this success in the poorest areas in our country.’

Andrew Forsey, Feeding Britain’s director, said: "Without Number 7’s support, we know that many more people in Birkenhead would have needed to use the food bank last year.

"It is providing an incredibly important service for so many families and, in doing so, it offers a template for similar projects across the Feeding Britain network."