Darwen Market and Blackburn Market are supporting families with children eligible for free school meals via vouchers, which can be used to buy quality food from the markets. The Darwen Market traders involved are pleased to be part of the initiative, and it’s even received praise from Marcus Rashford.
Blackburn with Darwen Council are behind the campaign, which supplies vouchers to families with children eligible for free school meals. The vouchers can be used at fresh food stalls at Darwen Market and Blackburn Market, including fruit and vegetables, butchers, fishmongers, bakeries, delicatessens and grocery stalls. In addition to supporting local families, the campaign supports local businesses, which are a fantastic resource for our borough.
There is a wide selection of food stalls at Darwen Market, including beautifully fresh produce from Woods Fruit and Veg, quality meat from both Turner’s Butchers and Leeming’s Butchers, and homemade pies, bread, eggs, cheese and more from several stalls. The voucher scheme allows families to have the freedom to choose their own supplies, and to try new meals. Darwen Market’s friendly traders are always more than happy to give tips and advice, and have enjoyed meeting lots of new customers via the campaign.
Des, of Tease Your Tastebuds, said: “We are delighted at Tease Your Tastebuds to get involved with the Food Voucher Scheme, we have had some great feedback from families on the food that they can buy with their vouchers from the market and we have seen plenty of new faces. Always nice to help out with imaginative and vital community projects like this one.”
(Des was also featured on Capital Radio, you can listen to him on catch-up – right at the beginning of this show.)
And Verity, of Rushton’s The Bacon Stall, commented: “We have met a lot of new families since the voucher scheme started many of them learning that shopping in our lovely market is not only safe but that the food they buy is not only fresh but healthy as well. Most are pleasantly surprised at how much they are able purchase with their vouchers. Knowing that we are able to help with this scheme makes what we do all worth while.”
The scheme has also been backed by Manchester United player and food poverty campaigner, Marcus Rashford, who tweeted “Love that Blackburn and Darwen has mobilised local business into their hunger-related schemes. Well done.”
Supporting local businesses has never been more important – Darwen Market is a great asset for our town, much of the produce on offer is locally sourced, and all is fresh and top quality. Safety is also a top priority of the market – not only are families able to buy quality food items with their vouchers, they are also able to have a pleasant and safe shopping experience within the Covid-secure and spacious market hall and annexe. The market attendants are always on-hand to ensure everything is running smoothly, and enhanced cleaning has been in place for the entirety of the pandemic.
Phil Riley, Executive Member for Growth and Development at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “Supporting children and local businesses at the same time is a great solution to the challenges that are facing families during the latest round of restrictions. Rather than pre-packed boxed food, families are able to choose high quality produce and make a vital contribution to small businesses and the local economy at the same time. This type of community support is the essence of what we are aiming to achieve in Blackburn and Darwen.”