FareShare is absolutely delighted to have the generous support of the ASDA Foundation. Funding is making a big difference to the level of impact FareShare is having across the UK by helping FareShare to work in partnership with more food companies to access their surplus food and support FareShare’s network of 20 UK Regional Centres to work with more charities.
In 2015/16 the ASDA Foundation played a leading role in helping FareShare to redistribute enough food for 18.3 million meals for hungry people. The food FareShare redistributed is worth over £19 million to the UK voluntary sector.
On a local level a proportion of the funding is being used to support the growth and impact of three of our Regional Centres: Thames Valley, Southern Central and South West.
FareShare is looking forward to working with the ASDA Foundation during 2016 so we can jointly save more good food from being needlessly wasted and reduce hunger throughout the UK.
Additionally ASDA are committed to working with FareShare to send their surplus food to FareShare. Since Asda’s partnership with FareShare began in June 2013, Asda have provided enough surplus food for over 4 million meals!
Watch the video below to see how together we have helped support just one of the thousands of charities Fareshare support.
FareShare have made excellent progress in accessing fresh fruit and vegetables and over the last year have seen a ten-fold increase in volumes. This has helped to increase the provision we can make to the charities we currently deliver to, as well as increasing the numbers we support across the UK. This has resulted in seven new charities every week signing up to receive FareShare food. The fresh fruit and vegetables we supply as part of this is vital.
FareShare & Break the Cycle
An example of a charity member that FareShare supports through our London Regional Centre is Break the Cycle in Enfield.
Bacon and chestnut soup is top of the bill on the Friday specials board in the bright café at the Enfield Council drug and alcohol intervention service, a place providing nutritional food to those battling drug and alcohol addiction. With most clients suffering from malnutrition and some seriously underweight, Café Manager Nick Birt is determined to get service users on a healthy diet. He explains:
“Seeing food on the menu that they might not have tried before encourages service users to chat with each other, so it helps to build up their social skills as well. I think it helps people get back in contact with the person they used to be.”
The café is run by Break the Cycle, a support group that helps people stay strong and rebuild their lives once they’ve completed rehab. Open Monday to Friday, the café is a safe space where service users know that they can get a hot healthy meal. With many clients on a very small budget, this may be the only nutritious food that they have regular access to. Nick says:
“People make the journey and come in to use the support services if they know that they will get a free meal. It encourages people to stay committed to rehab and the services.”
Since December 2013, every Monday Nick has been collecting fresh food including fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy in chilled boxes from FareShare London. He turns this into between 125 and 150 meals every week, helped by a team of volunteers who are on the Break the Cycle programme and committed to beating addictions themselves. Nick says:
“FareShare allows us to offer substantial healthy meals and choice. Before FareShare, we used to just serve fry ups and sandwiches but now we offer a broad selection of food and know that we can always put hot food on. It’s strange but the atmosphere seems to change when we serve different and healthier food. It’s friendlier, people stay longer and seem happier. More women come in too, I think they feel more comfortable.”
Volunteers in the café are given training and support and some ex-service users have gone on to find work thanks to the experience they have gained in the café. The opportunity to give something back can make a big difference to their lives. Nick explains:
“A lot of clients are glad to know that the wider community takes an interest in them and their care. They’re happy to know that they are dealing with food waste too. Together it makes them feel positive about supermarkets, for example when we had Asda lasagnes one day, people were interested to see where they had come from and that businesses were contributing to the service.”
FareShare & Disabled People’s Contact
Disabled People’s Contact (DPC) is a social contact day centre for disabled and/or vulnerable older people in Greenwich and Lewisham. It is open 48 weeks of the year and run by a small team of staff and volunteers.
DPC’s mission is to relieve people in the community who are lonely, have a disability or physical or mental health issues, by offering a safe place to visit, meet friends and enjoy a healthy balanced meal with like-minded people. The challenges some of DPC’s members face include dementia, learning disabilities, physical disability, or mental health issues including depression, anxiety or schizophrenia.
The Centre meals regularly deliver three of the five recommended fruit and vegetable portions each day, which is useful for those who do not cook their own meals at home. They are supported in the work they do through their relationship with FareShare which provides food, enabling the Centre to provide a varied and healthy diet for its members.
Day Centre manager Erica Ross says: “FareShare helps us improve the diets of people in the local community: we provide three of the recommended 5-a-day and are able to introduce seasonal variety into our meals. This is especially important for those who cannot cook for themselves due to disability, as well as for those who suffer from poverty as some of our volunteers do.
“Having this relationship with FareShare has in the first year reduced our food bill by 30%. As a charity, this has enabled us to put more money towards the cost of day trips, entertainment and activities. It is a bit like fundraising in reverse!”
The lunch club at Disabled People’s Contact is cosy, warm and welcoming. A painting of a tropical island spans one of the walls, while others are dotted with photos, colourful drawings by members and lots of books. The radio plays music as members chat, knit, read and colour-in while they wait for their lunch. In the kitchen, volunteers prepare that day’s three course meal. A typical menu includes cheese, crackers and grapes for starters, chicken curry for main and bread and butter pudding for desert, made with food from FareShare.
Angie, one of the regular visitors to DPC told us “It’s really good here, you can talk to people if you’ve got problems, the staff and volunteers are very helpful and I’ve made best friends. Sue’s my best friend! We come for the food and the company. The food’s nice; it’s my main meal of the day. If there’s something you don’t like, they’ll change it. I’ll be coming on Christmas Day too. There will be a Christmas dinner and a disco, lots of people and music.”