North Wales food producers cut waste and benefit community

fareshareBusinesses in the food and produce sector in North Wales are being called upon to help reduce landfill and support those in need through an innovative community food network.

FareShare North Wales, based in Llandudno Junction, works with food manufacturers, local suppliers and supermarkets taking surplus food and using it to help support 44 community groups across North Wales.

In 2012 FareShare North Wales, which is run by social enterprise Crest Co-operative, diverted more than 60 tonnes of food from landfill.

Volunteers and staff deliver surplus food to homeless drop in centres, day centres for the elderly, food banks, residential homes for adults with learning disabilities and youth projects.

Making the call for help is Business Supporting Communities (B2C) a project funded by the Big Lottery and delivered by North Wales County Voluntary Councils, which works to help bring businesses and communities together.

Alison Roberts, project officer for Wrexham and Flintshire said: “FareShare provide an excellent and much needed service here in North Wales.

“Food is something most of us take for granted, but with the recession food has fallen down the priority list, with paying for heating and rent coming first.

“I would urge those who can get involved to do so.”

Tinned food, cereal, fruit juice and frozen food, are just some of the items that are delivered to community groups, which come from donations thanks to over orders or damages.

A small membership fee is charged to community groups, to fund operating costs of the project.

Fiona Davies, project manager for Foodworx in west Rhyl, works with local residents who are suffering financial hardship.

Fiona explained how Foodworx benefits from the scheme: “Without FareShare North Wales we would have to rely on donations and would only be able to help people in crisis. The food from FareShare allows us to help people continually.

“At the moment we are supporting 100 people, they come to us for 13 to 26 weeks and volunteer for us for four hours a month. They then get a food parcel each week and they feel like they have earned it and that it is not charity.

“People who need help can be any age, at the moment we are supporting people of pension age, families and individuals.”

Paul Riley, 49, from west Rhyl, has benefited from food parcels during struggling times, he now volunteers for Foodworx.

“The food parcels are very important, they can be a life saver,” said Paul. “It helps people of all ages, anybody can lose a job and not know who to turn to.

“Then they end up in a situation where they need help from a food bank. It’s happened to me before and I know how much it can help.”