Pay-as-you-feel food store forced to suspend services after hunt for permanent home 

Sue Cooper at the Wickham Centre
Sue Cooper at the Wickham Centre
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A SOCIAL enterprise food initiative in Wickham has had to suspend its services after a dispute with its former charity and difficulties obtaining a permanent residence.

The Wickham Project makes use of surplus food from supermarkets and operates on a pay-as-you-feel basis.

Manager Sue Cooper has had to make the difficult decision to suspend the service which operates out of Wickham Centre due to problems in obtaining a permanent base.

‘I am really disappointed in Wickham Centre who have made it so difficult for me to run this enterprise. They say they can’t give us a room to operate from and we have had to constantly move rooms – sometimes in the middle of getting set up. This can be really difficult if you are having to reset everything two or three times a week,’ explained Sue.

Kate English, manager of the Wickham Centre, is ‘saddened’ by the news and said that a message on Facebook was the first she was aware of the decision.

‘I am really sad about the decision and I want to stress it is not what we wanted to happen. We certainly didn’t ask Sue to leave,’ explained Kate.

Ms English said that the Wickham Centre didn’t charge for the use of the room but admitted there was an issue with relocation due to other bookings.

The focus of the Wickham Project is on creating a social community for people to meet and at the same time purchase food at a price they can afford.

‘The emphasis is on creating a community and getting people together. As well as purchasing food, customers can get a cup of tea and enjoy socialising,’ explained Sue. 

‘I am really frustrated as I wanted to expand the project but I need a base to operate from,’ she added. 

Sue was keen to stress the current closure does not mean the end of the project and has managed to secure a short-term trial placement at the Highland Hub in Fareham. 

‘The project is suspended – not closed. I feel defeated but I am ready to pick myself up again and look for a permanent solution,’ explained Sue.