How TV's Benefits Street has inspired Berry Brow tenants to help each other

Residents are setting up a shop to sell food and household items to neighbours

Residents shop to open in Holme Park Court, Berry Brow. Residents Anna Gray and Sophie Whiteley and Kirklees Federation of Tenants and Residents Field Worker Bev Taylor in the shop
Residents shop to open in Holme Park Court, Berry Brow. Residents Anna Gray and Sophie Whiteley and Kirklees Federation of Tenants and Residents Field Worker Bev Taylor in the shop
 

An idea inspired by a controversial TV programme is bringing a community closer together.

Benefits Street’s 50p man Smoggy was seen on TV earning some cash from his enterprising idea of selling items like teabags or washing power for 50p.

Now tenants in Berry Brow, inspired by the idea, are using it to help cash-strapped tenants keep living costs down.

Sophie Whiteley, 18, Anna Gray, 20, and Chris Nash, 27, have been bulk-buying products to sell to tenants of Holme Park Court and Bishops Court.

Sophie is chair of the TRA and a volunteer who hopes her studies will help her work with young people.

She said: “We want to stock items that people want to buy and also that will make it easier and cheaper to make meals.

Holme Park Court, Berry Brow
Holme Park Court, Berry Brow.
 

“A lot of people have a bad impression of the flats, but we’re trying to help people as much as we can.”

Among the items for sale in the not-for-profit shop will be teabags for 20p, a cup of washing power for 30p, food tins and pasta for 50p to £1.

Sales of any items donated will be ploughed back into supporting the residents’ and the shop.

Bev Taylor, Kirklees Federation of Tenants and Residents Associations fieldworker, spoke of her pride in the enterprising trio’s project: “Once people have paid their bills, gas and electricity they have less than £8 to £10 a week to feed themselves - a bus fare into town to buy items will leave even less - so this will really help.

Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing gave them £300 to get the shop up and running and they’ve bought items which people need, bags of pasta, tins of food, washing power, tea, coffee, sugar and salt which they can sell in smaller portions at cost price.

“There is poverty here, there have been tremendous problems, and some problems still exist, but there is a group of young people willing to do something to help.

“We hope the shop will bring people together and become the hub of the community.

“Sophie, Chris and Anna have worked really hard, they’ve put the time into this and it will make a difference for a lot of people living here.”

A meeting is planned for all residents to input ideas into the shop, which will officially launch on June 9.

Anyone who can donate items towards the shop can contact Bev on Bev.Taylor@kftra.net.

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