This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Angus enterprise proves every little helps

This opinion piece is over 1 year old

In a small town in Angus, big things are happening

S-Mart is Angus’s first social supermarket and we have just announced some incredible stats and safe to say, they are not only having a positive impact on their community but also our environment.

In 2020 Community First UK, a Social Enterprise, made a commitment to address the ever-rising crisis of food poverty and food waste by creating a social supermarket as an alternative to foodbanks and mainstream supermarkets. The Social Supermarket provides access to affordable food in a dignified environment taking away any stigma or identification of anyone’s personal circumstances.

By providing affordable food, an improved diet with the ability to afford healthier choices to families has resulted in long term benefits on physical, mental and health and wellbeing and as a result has significantly reduced stresses associated with food insecurity.

During the first full covid lockdown, we had to quickly adapt our plans of opening our Social Supermarket and instead introduced the S-Mart grocery pack initiative where we were able to provide our communities across Angus with 35,991 meals.

During this time, we gathered information through conversations, questionnaires and general feedback which informed a comprehensive plan for the Community First Hub to respond to the rising challenges and devastating impact of food insecurity, unemployment, and mental health. Circumstances around employment, training opportunities, affordable retail space, isolation and loneliness and food insecurity in Angus.

We secured premises and opened S-Mart our Social Supermarket in July 2020. Within the remainder of the premises, we aimed to provide a range of services and outlets such as: retail space tackling fast fashion; affordable shared space for local SMEs; a community space; community cafe; outdoor garden; and training space outdoors.

Through the feedback gathered during and after the first lock down we also aimed to provide the support and services to our communities which included work placements; money support; healthy eating; employment training; support; and retail training.

Fast forward to 2023 and we have achieved all of our aims and so much more. We have just completed a report where we can announce that since opening our doors of S-Mart, Angus’s first social supermarket, in 2020, we have saved 300 tons of food from going to landfill, this equates to 730,000 meals, and because the goods we sell in our store can be discounted by anything up to 50%, our members individually, over the three years have saved themselves £1,800 on their shopping leaving the much needed cash for other bills and costs, furthermore, if we consider this based on our overall membership, collectively that is just over £3.5m saved in one community.

This is something that we are astounded by and are incredibly proud of being able to have done for our members and our community, particularly during some of the most difficult challenges we as a nation have had to navigate. “

We believe this is now a tried and tested model that has, without doubt, proven that it works and hope to roll the model out to other towns and cities so that other communities can benefit from the support that Community First and S-Mart can provide.

If you would like to find out more about Community First UK and the Social Supermarket S-mart, go to

Pauline Lockhart is CEO of Community First UK