WINNER: Recycling Lives
In autumn 2015, Recycling Lives launched its Food Redistribution Centre (FRC), which works to both cut food waste and tackle food poverty.
Established in partnership with charity FareShare, it redistributes surplus food and drink from supermarkets and suppliers, which would have been destined for landfill, to Community Food Members (CFMs) who use it to feed disadvantaged groups, such as homeless shelters and women’s refuges.
The FRC team has grown the centre into a far-reaching and successful one. It now works with 88 community groups across four counties, and has so far diverted 331 tonnes of surplus food from landfill, which equates to 740,000 individual meals.
Its success is due to the hard work, commitment and passion of the team, a unique mix of people of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities and abilities. It is led by full-time paid employees Jeff and Tony, graduates of Recycling Lives’ Release Potential programme, which rehabilitates marginalised men through work placements, training and purpose-built accommodation.
JUDGES’ COMMENT: “Recycling Lives has developed a successful and replicable model. Each member of the team has a sense of ownership over the work they do, its contribution to the rest of the team and to the communities they serve. The team is clearly dedicated to the values of the charity to bring about positive social and environmental impact.”
Other team members work on a voluntary basis, giving between one and four days a week. These include a retired teacher, an FSA professional, a trained counsellor, two ex-armed forces personnel and offenders released on temporary licence to learn life and work skills ahead of release.
Before the FRC was set up, there was no joined up approach to food redistribution across the north-west regions. It bridged the gap between suppliers/supermarkets and community groups/charities, and filled a hole on the UK map of FareShare centres.
It was intended to be a centre for Lancashire, with a long-term aim of moving into Cumbria. But the team’s excellent work has seen it attracting CFMs from South Yorkshire, Merseyside and South Cumbria. As a result, ambitions for Cumbria have been expanded to a second centre. The team goes above and beyond to ensure best use of surplus stock. This allows the CFMs to provide quality meals for those in need, giving them the opportunity to help address their other issues.
- Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Durham County Council
- East Riding of Yorkshire Council
- Keep Britain Tidy
- Oxford City Council
- South Holland District Council
- University of East Anglia
- Woking Borough Council
- Yeovil District Hospital