Youth-led Food Market reaches the semi-finals of the Youth Matters Awards - YMCA DownsLink Group

Youth-led Food Market reaches the semi-finals of the Youth Matters Awards

Youth Matters Awards Brighton YAC Food Market



We’re so pleased that our youth-led sustainable Food Market is one of the semi-finalists in the Youth Matters Awards.  The Food Market has been nominated for the Health & Wellbeing Project of the Year Award, recognising innovative and inspiring projects that have tangible and positive impacts on young people and/or the wider community.

Stanley Penrose, Receptionist at Brighton Youth Advice Centre, told us a bit more about the Food Market:

We started our Food Market with the aim of making healthy, sustainable food accessible for young people in Brighton & Hove. We could see first-hand how Food Insecurity was affecting the young people within our community. We wanted our Food Market to be part of the Food Justice Movement, which ‘sees healthy food as a human right and addresses structural barriers to that right’. Structural barriers can include a lack of money, knowledge and time/energy and can prevent young people from accessing healthy and sustainable food. Our Food Market addresses these barriers by remaining accessible, affordable and youth-led, and integrating food education and wellbeing support into its guiding values.

Since opening its doors in December 2021, the Food Market has provided more than 300 ‘shops’ for young people aged 16-25, providing affordable, healthy and sustainable food. The Market has 101 current members and is growing, with young people paying a small weekly membership fee, and in return have access to a varied and discounted weekly shop. To read more about the Food Market, click here.

YAC Food Market

“I have autism so going to the supermarket is really stressful. It’s a lot easier for me to come and do my grocery shopping here ’cause there’s not big lights and loads of people” – Food Market user

“Having a sustainable option means quite a lot to me. I’d say for me that’s probably the biggest driving point” – Food Market user

While the Food Market is not a foodbank, it has supported memberships for people who are in a food emergency so they can access food for free and in a positive and empowering way. The Food Market strives for equity and solidarity with the aim of ensuring that everyone has access to the best quality food, regardless of their situation. They are also encouraged to let us know if they need anything specific, whether that’s dietary needs, cultural foods, or hygiene products, and we will try our hardest to access those.

“We never have to worry about running out of food now, whereas we did a bit before” – Food Market user

The Food Market not only makes healthy and sustainable food accessible for young people in the local community but it also empowers young people throughout the project and ensures that their voices are at the heart of the market. It is an incredibly innovative and inspiring project and absolutely vital for the wider community as the cost of living increases. The Food Market is so deserving of the Health & Wellbeing Project of the Year Award, so please VOTE HERE!

Youth Matters Awards logo - vote for Food Market

And don’t forget to vote for our other semi finalists:

Adi Detemo – Young Achiever of the Year

Brighton YAC – Support & Advice Project of the Year 

WiSE Participation and Engagement – Support & Advice Project of the Year 

Y’s Girls (Multiple YMCAs) – Family & Youth Work Project of the Year 

To find out more about our semi-finalists, click here.


YMCA enables people to develop their full potential in mind, body and spirit. Inspired by and faithful to our Christian values, we create supportive, inclusive and energising communities, where young people can truly belong, contribute and thrive.

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