City charity is fighting waste and tackling food poverty

A Brighton-based charity is helping people in need across the county by redistributing food which would otherwise be wasted.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 10:51 pm
Lara Bloch, Emily Watson, Xander Shears, Steve Moore, Oli Kyndt, and Simon Young (Photo by Jon Rigby)

FareShare Sussex is part of national network which receives surplus food the city’s supermarkets and food companies and then delivers them to local charities where it is transformed into thousands of meals and food parcels every week.

From their premises in

Fairway Business Centre, Westergate Road, Moulescoomb, the charity helps to feed more than 21,500 people each week.

Xander Shears (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-210707-220833001

Kelly Dibbert, development manager at FareShare, said: “Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of good food is wasted by the UK food industry every year.

“At the same time, millions of people are struggling to afford to eat.

“Our work addresses these two issues by redistributing food industry surplus which would otherwise be wasted, to the people that need it most.

“We provide food to 162 charities and groups that deliver services in addition to meals, such as advice and guidance, health support, counselling and befriending, to help break the cycle of poverty and use food as a vehicle for good above and beyond alleviating hunger.

Oli Kyndt and Emily Watson (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-210707-220845001

“The food is good quality food that can no longer be sold for a variety of reasons, such as damaged packaging or a short-shelf life.

“This doesn’t have an impact on the standard or safety of the food items available.

“Food available often includes bread, eggs and fresh fruit. It will always be within its use by date and is perfectly good to eat.”

Their sister organisation FareShare Go, offers charities and community groups with direct access to surplus food from local supermarkets, including Tesco, ASDA and Waitrose & Partners.

Food which would otherwise go to waste (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-210707-220707001

FareShare Sussex is only able to provide their service to the community with the support of a team of volunteers.

During the first government-imposed Covid-19 lockdown 160 volunteers gave an amazing 58,887 hours to FareShare Sussex.

Since the Covid19 outbreak began, the number of vulnerable people in the community who are in need of food has risen sharply

A recent report from the charity noted: “When Covid19 hit, our phones didn’t stop ringing.

“So many people fell into food poverty as soon as the country locked down. We were astounded.

“So many people from all walks of life gave up their time and really supported FareShare Sussex in our mission to get food out to those who found themselves in great need during the national crisis.

“Every week between 110 and 150 volunteers worked with us in a truly community-spirited effort to help out people who had fallen into food poverty as a result of the pandemic.

“At the start of the first lock-down over 70 of our regular volunteers were unable to work with us as they needed to shield because of their vulnerability.

“To take their places we recruited new volunteers, often these were employees who were on furlough.

“Within two weeks of the first national lockdown, they were all inducted and working with us in our warehouses. An incredible achievement.”

From 2020-21 FareShare Sussex provided enough food for 10,000 meals for vulnerable people , and every day they distribute more than 1500 tonnes of food across Sussex and Surrey.

The food gets to people who need it most through Community Food Members who are themselves charities or community groups.

Last year 161 Community Food Members reached hungry people of all demographics: children living in poverty, elderly people living in isolation, victims of domestic violence, homeless people, those fighting addiction, disabled people, those who are unwell, ex-offenders and low- income families struggling to put food on the table.

The Community Food Members are currently 40 food banks, 20 community/day/training centres, 20 supported housing, 10 children’s and family centres, 11 community cafes, seven hospice,care home or medical facilities, seven school breakfast or after school clubs, eight drop-in service or advice centres, five hostels, three lunch clubs, two out of school or youth centres, four places of worship, six refuges, four residential rehabilitation services, four community fridges, five soup kitchens and five community food hubs.

FareShare Sussex are also the proud owners of an electric van and electric cargo bike. The vehicles will enable the charity to expand their operations by increasing the amount of surplus food they can collect and redistribute from local suppliers to more of Community Food Members.

They also help the charity lead the way in sustainable transport logistics, cutting both air pollution and carbon emissions.

FarShare Sussex also relies on monthly individual donations, with a monthly £10 donation providing 40 meals and preventing 15kg worth of food from going to waste.

Local businesses have held team-building volunteering days at the charity’s warehouse in Moulsecoomb, which the charity hopes to restart as soon as Covid restrictions are lifted.

In the coming weeks staff and volunteers at FareShare are taking part in BHT Bike It event around the Sussex countryside and on July 11, and on July 18 they will take their electric van to the very first London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally.

Kelly Dibbert said: “We’re looking to increase the amount of surplus food redistributed in the city and can pick up any in date surplus food collections from restaurants, shops and events in our zero emission i-ceni E-cargo bike and LDV Electric van, so please email Lara if you can help [email protected]

Charities and community groups in need of food should email [email protected]