Lord Henley lunches with families at Sunderland community group using ‘waste’ food from FareShare North East Tuesday, 17 August 2010 - At lunch time today Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) sat down to a meal with a difference; all the food enjoyed had been destined for landfill, to be reprocessed as animal feed or otherwise wasted.
The charity hosting the lunch, Sunderland North Family Zone, receives food each week from FareShare North East, a partnership between The Cyrenians, the award winning charity which supports vulnerable and homeless people in the North East, and FareShare the national food charity, winners of ‘Britain’s Most Admired Charity’ 2010.
FareShare collects surplus food from producers and suppliers within the food industry and redistributes it to those in need. In this way over 2,800 tonnes were saved nationally from being wasted last year. This was then redistributed, along with other food related support services, to a network of 600 organisations. Throughout the country over 6.7 million meals were provided in the year and 29,000 people benefited from the service each day.
Linda Procopis Manager of Sunderland North Family Zone at Hylton Castle explained:
"Each Tuesday Stan from FareShare North East calls to let us know what’s available. We place our order, receive it on Wednesday morning and then set about planning our menus for the week.
"We support over 400 people each week. We run four lunch clubs and make food available to families and people who are isolated in their own homes. We provide an essential service and a real highlight for many lonely people and needy families."
Lord Henley, whose brief includes dealing with waste and recycling, visited FareShare North East as part of a two day tour of the region. Commenting on his visit he said:
"FareShare NorthEast is providing a social solution to an environmental problem. This is a highly effective scheme achieving great impact through its work to support communities, relieve food poverty and reduce wastage. I am full of admiration for the ingenuity and resourcefulness of everyone involved and very impressed by the clear, positive difference being made to many people’s lives and to the environment."
Austen Hempstead, Cair of FareShare North East said:
"We are delighted to welcome Lord Henley today - it is very helpful in our efforts to raise awareness of our work. There is so much demand and need – and yet it’s been really tough keeping going sometimes since we launched in April 2008.
"We are very keen to hear from more food manufacturers and retailers who would like to work with us. We know they sometimes have concerns about their liability and food safety. Hopefully they’ll get the clear message today that we know what we’re doing, we work to the highest standards and we’re doing a fantastic job.
"We already work with many great organisations – large and small – including Greggs, Kavli, Co-op Supermarkets, local farmers such as David Dungait, Nick Craigs and small retailers such as Stobo’s of Corbridge and farm shops like Blagdon and Brocksbushes. We’ll be happy put any other food manufacturers or retailers in touch so they can explain their experiences and the benefits."
Tony Lowe, Chief Executive of FareShare nationally, said:
"We are delighted to have the opportunity to show the impact that FareShare has on the community and the environment. FareShare works to ensure that no good food is being wasted and redirects this food to people who would otherwise not have access to it. In the UK, there are too many people not able to get healthy food on a regular basis. Working with FareShare North East and The Cyrenians we are able to provide vulnerable people with access to good quality food in the region."
Last year FareShare North East supplied the equivalent of 250,000 meals to 35 organisations supporting disadvantaged people in the region.