Revamped co-op gives residents fresh produce

A DISTRICT once declared a no-go zone for threatened pizza delivery drivers is now getting its five a day – thanks to a colourful new community fruit and veg co-op.

The gradual transformation of Broomhouse took a major step forward this week when Edinburgh’s only permanent, community-owned fruit-and-veg emporium reopened following a major overhaul.

The new look is already proving hugely popular with residents, who feel they now have a doorstep resource to shout about and be proud of.

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One resident told the Evening News: “It’s provided a much-needed focal point for the community. People are really bowled over by the new look.”

The Broomhouse Health Strategy Group said the unique volunteer-run venue had been “gutted and overhauled” as part of a drive to increase the range of healthy food available in the area.

Customers will be able to shop for a wide range of tasty delicacies, but 
especially fresh produce, which is delivered daily.

The centre is also offering cooking classes, room for exercise and a home delivery service. Project co-ordinator Lucy Aitchison said people would be “transformed into budding Jamie Olivers” in the kitchen by one of their healthy cooking sessions.

Summing up the difference she hopes it will have on the community, she said: “This is hugely significant – the co-op has been totally gutted and will really help improve the overall wellbeing of people in 

The work saw the co-op’s floors ripped up, its shelves taken out and re-arranged, and brand new counters installed. There is also space for those popular community events.

But the shop’s centrepiece is a stunning mural covering its walls and ceiling painted by Leith-based artist Chris Young.

The 40-year-old graffiti artist with Edinburgh-based MSCreative said the splash of colour provides a welcome contrast with the surrounding estate. “The shop has been around for a long time and its interior was really starting to look dated. I think this project gives the whole area an uplift,” he said.

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Residents have echoed his view, saying it reminds them of a chic store from a continental side street.

Ms Aitchison said: “The theme of the shop is based on a fruit shop scene in somewhere like Barcelona. You have these bold, fruit-themed patterns spreading across the walls and over the ceiling as well, which will really draw people in.”

Previously dubbed “Little Bosnia”, Broomhouse hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons when Pizza Hut announced back in 2004 that it would cease deliveries after 9pm because of threats from teenage gangs.

Area’s outlook is healthy

THE group was formed 20 years ago to do something about the area’s unhealthy salt ‘n’ sauce diet.

A community health visitor brought together three women’s groups who organised and ran a health day which resulted in the birth of the Health Strategy Group. In 1995 – after the James Report exposed Scotland as having “the worst diet in Europe” – they went on to open the shop.

Always on the look-out for volunteers, they can be contacted at [email protected].