A TOWN councillor has bought new equipment for a community grocery store to cope with the increase of users due to the rise in costs of living.

Hexham-East Cllr Suzanne Fairless-Aitken has purchased new fridges and freezers for Community Grocery on Wanless Lane in Hexham.

The grocery opened in March 2021 and is run by Dale Dawson, manager of the Community Grocery Store with other team members Neil and Joe.

"I’m pleased to have been able to help in some way as people start to feel the pinch," said Cllr Fairless-Aitken.

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"The extra capacity will help with the surge in demand that the Community Grocery team has seen here in the past few months – people in Hexham are struggling - from those most in need to the new Ukrainian families who have come here with nothing, and more recently, those working families now finding themselves on the breadline due to soaring inflation and rising energy costs.

"People come from far away as Alston to shop here, such as the vast catchment of the grocery, and as rural-poverty rates soar we need this amazing service more than ever.

"I’ve seen security tags placed on food in the local supermarkets, which fills me with horror at what is to come this winter.

"Amazingly, for the cost of a tub of butter, a family can now get two shops with the Community Grocery.

"Dale, Neil, Joe, and the team do an amazing job feeding and working with the community, providing drop-ins for kids over the summer holidays in the Eden Lounge and at the old HMS site.

"I just love the compassionate, non-judgemental community feel they have created here.

"Many of my residents are really struggling and I wanted to do something proactive to try to help, hence buying the extra chiller cabinets for the bulk deliveries donated by local supermarkets.

"I’ve also been in discussions with Karbon Homes and the Climate Team at Northumberland County Council about better insulating the tenanted homes in Hexham East in preparation for the coming colder months."

"It really makes a difference to peoples’ lives.