Community support

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

FareShare Southern Central operated by Southampton's anti-poverty charity SCRATCH rescues surplus food that would otherwise go to waste and redistributes it to charities and community groups working with vulnerable people. We tackle two issues of our time food poverty and food waste.

One in four parents on low incomes regularly skip meals to feed their children and it is estimated that around eight million people in the UK struggle everyday to know where their next meal is coming from. Yet at the same time thousands of tonnes of perfectly good food is wasted every year.

Our approach is simple we work with the food and drink industry and capture their surplus food. There are many reasons for surplus from over production, supplier overs, food coming close to the end of life, packaging mistakes, for example spelling mistakes, incorrect weights and food that hasn't passed quality control yet it is perfectly safe to eat. There is also human error, even a change in the weather can create surplus food as our eating habits change.

Every week around 10 tonnes of food arrives at our Southampton distribution centre where an army of volunteers sort, pick, pack and deliver it to over 150 charities and community groups throughout Hampshire and Dorset. These include food banks, school breakfast clubs, lunch clubs for older people, women refuge, soup kitchens, hostels, children centres and projects supporting vulnerable young people, those living with addictions, mental health, physical and learning disabilities, debt and long term unemployment. It is often a hot meal that is the beginning of the recovery process. It is only when you tackle hunger can you address other issues.

Every charity that receives food becomes a FareShare ,member and pays a small monthly contribution to help us build a sustainable project. They agree to follow food safety and to ensure that the food goes where it is needed most.

Our members make considerable savings on their food spend money which can be redirected into services for their clients. One children's centre has saved enough money to employ a part time support worker. One senior lunch clubs not only provides a weekly hot meal and company they can now afford to take their members out on day trips - breaking down the social isolation that many older people face and giving older people something to look forward to.

One youth group teaches young people how to cook nutritious meals on a budget, giving them the tools they need to make healthy choices and save themselves money.

Our volunteers are amazing! Many have experienced hard times and food poverty. Some have stabilized addictions, have been homeless or long term unemployed. Not only do we provide volunteering and work experience but also training. With the right support and encouragement we are able to move our volunteers on. Last year we supported 10 volunteers back into work, the first step of lifting someone out of poverty. One young man has just started university and says it was the confidence he gained on the project that gave him the belief that he can achieve anything!

We know that we are only tapping into a fracture of the surplus food available to us and have a commitment from the likes of Tesco, Kelloggs and Greencore that we are the first port of call whenever surplus arises. The challenge is not the food it is distributing it to the many charities and community groups on our waiting list.

To grow our project we need another refrigerator van (second hand vans starts at £10,000) We also need to train new volunteers in food safety, first aid and for some forklift truck training. (£500 per volunteer)

The van will not only be delivering food, it will be collecting surplus food donations from factories and distribution centres across the South of England.

With your support we will be able to continue and grow our vital work making sure that those that are hungry are feed and that no good food goes to waste.

FareShare Southern Central (operated by SCRATCH)

Location: Southampton

Everyday we are working hard to tackle hunger not in the third world but here in the UK. Our volunteers are amazing, many have experienced food poverty themselves and this is a way of giving back, without them it would be impossible to continue to provide over 100,000 meals every single month.
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