YOUNGSTERS at a York primary school have launched a campaign to establish the city’s first community shop.

Pupils at Westfield School in Acomb are writing to the Archbishop of York, City of York Council leader James Alexander and the council’s chief executive, Kersten England, to seek their backing for the idea.

They want to set up a shop somewhere in the Westfield ward where supermarkets and other retailers could provide surplus groceries to be redistributed far more cheaply to people struggling to make ends meet.

Westfield head teacher Tracey Ralph said the York project was just an idea at this stage, but hoped the school’s links with York Cares – a partnership of the city’s leading firms committed to making a difference through employee-volunteering – would help to get things started.

City of York Council figures show that in the Westfield ward 795 children – about 25 per cent of children – live in poverty and 695 out of 2,132 pensioners (32 per cent) receive pension credit.

Mrs Ralph said: “We are very lucky that City of York Council is working to reduce poverty, and committed to listening to what citizens want in their communities, even their youngest ones. We are fortunate also to have such strong links with York Cares, who have supported us in the past by pulling in business partners to create our community gardens.

“Team work is the key, and working in partnership will be the key to the success of this project, with children at the very heart of it.”

In 2012, The Press launched its Stamp Out Poverty campaign and research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has shown living costs have risen by 25 per cent in five years, with a quarter of UK households falling short of the income required to meet minimum living standards.

The country’s first social supermarket opened a pilot store in Barnsley in December with plans to open more later if it proves successful A spokesman for the Archbishop of York said Dr John Sentamu was looking forward to receiving the letters.

A spokeswoman for York Cares said the idea would be discussed at their next board meeting.

Here’s what some of the children wrote...

Dear Ms England and Mr Alexander

I am writing to you to ask you to seriously consider establishing York’s first ever community shop here, in Acomb’s Westfield ward.

In the class of 6CW, we were dismayed that our very own ward, Westfield, has 25 per cent of its children living in poverty. That is 795 children. In my opinion, this number is staggeringly high. If we put a community shop in action though, it will help to reduce the numbers down.

These children are in need of food; it makes them healthier and will make sure that they are able to do better at school. It helps them to concentrate and will lower the chances of illness attacking.

It can change the poor and will reduce the lives in poverty.

Yours sincerely, Gabrielle Millward, Year 6 pupil

Dear Ms England and Mr Alexander

It is unfair on the children that perfectly good food is wasted and thrown away. This is why we need this community shop to get people on the street eating! Not paying the big amounts is an enormous help.

In Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire, they have a community shop. On a video they stated they had very good feedback about the amazing idea.

Yours sincerely, Bayley Noble, Year 6 pupil

Dear Ms England and Mr Alexander

A community shop would drastically help many members of our community.

The prices of fruit and vegetables is extortionate, which means it is difficult for many to have their five a day. Not only does this affect their health, it also affects their education as they are hungry throughout their lessons, therefore they struggle to concentrate.

Yours sincerely, Liam White