Food redistribution charity, FareShare, is celebrating today after being awarded £5 million of National Lottery funding to transform people’s lives through food across the UK. The money, raised by National Lottery players for good causes, is being distributed by the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.
With 270,000 tonnes of edible food being destroyed every year, FareShare delivered good surplus food to almost 7,000 charities and community groups in 2017. Working alongside food manufacturers, supermarkets, farmers and producers, the charity receives food at its 21 regional centres where an army of volunteers turns it into 28.6 million nutritious meals every year.
FareShare’s charity members use the food to bring people together to enjoy a meal with each other, helping to build relationships and reduce loneliness for people facing challenges in their lives such as domestic violence, mental health, homelessness, isolation and drug or alcohol dependency. By doing so, the food turns an environmental problem into a social solution.
This new National Lottery grant will help to expand FareShare’s work across its 21 regional centres, saving more than 25,000 tonnes of edible food from going to waste and providing almost 62 million more meals a year during the three years of this grant.
In order to achieve this, the charity will be undertaking a UK volunteer recruitment drive, aiming to increase the number of volunteers to over 1,000. This will enable FareShare to reach over 5,000 new charities.
Volunteers play an important role in FareShare achieving its vision of turning surplus food into nutritious meals and the charity wants to deepen its connection with the communities it supports. FareShare needs people right across the UK who understand their communities to give their time by volunteering at one of its regional centres.
The increase in volunteering opportunities, will also support people to develop life skills, increase their confidence and experience, which will help them move closer to employment.
FareShare Chief Executive Lindsay Boswell said: “We know there are millions of people experiencing food poverty, and through our network of charities, we can help them – but we need to get more surplus food in and out of our Regional Centres and into communities. This generous National Lottery funding allows us to do just that, by enabling us to manage greater volumes of food into our regional centres, and out to the frontline charities.
“The groups we support are under enormous strain. This funding will really help us work with more companies to access their surplus stocks, reduce food waste and improve the lives of millions of people through good food - all powered by the creation of hundreds of new volunteering opportunities.
Joe Ferns, UK Funding Director at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “FareShare aims to tackle food waste by putting local people with the knowledge of their community’s needs, in the driving seat to deliver real change. Thanks to National Lottery players, FareShare’s army of volunteers will help to transform lives through food - creating opportunities to bring communities together, learn new skills and reduce food waste.”