A national food charity has delivered more than 50,000 meals to communities in Cumbria.
Recycling Lives is celebrating its first anniversary of delivering meals to charities and community groups in the west of the county – providing enough food to serve 54,405 meals.
Working with Cumbria County Council, it opened a Local Collection Point (LCP) in Cleator Moor in October 2017, making weekly deliveries from its Lancashire-based Food Redistribution Centre.
Run in partnership with national food charity FareShare, the Centre redistributes surplus food from suppliers and supermarkets which would otherwise have gone to landfill.
Over the past year the goods provided via the LCP have helped 15 charitable organisations, including schools, homeless hostels and children’s centres; allowing each to save an average of £7,900 annually on their running costs.
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Mirehouse Residents Association is one of the organisations that benefits from the support. The organisation, based on Mirehouse Estate in Whitehaven, puts on twice-weekly lunch clubs for elderly residents and youth club sessions in the evenings. It has received enough food to make 5,861 meals.
Manager and Development Officer Angela Good said: “We work with adults with disabilities, supporting them to learn life skills as they help us to deliver food to families. They’re there when the food is picked up, so they learn how to store it correctly, use maths to divide it up into bags, and help deliver it to families in need.”
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South Workington Youth Partnership (SWYP) is one of the organisations that benefits from the support. The organisation runs weekly youth groups, after school clubs and support groups for disabled adults in Workington, Great Clifton and Maryport. It has received enough food to make 3,076 meals.
Community Involvement Co-ordinator Keith Cartner said: “The food parcels go to the ladies who attend the lunch clubs, parents bringing their children to the youth clubs, and families on the estate who we know need it. The food has helped us to stretch things much further – we’ve been able to grow the number of people we’re working with by about 40%.”
Recycling Lives has been supported by Cumbria County Council to establish the Cleator Moor presence; providing the LCP location, arranging information events for communities, and providing grant support to subsidise membership costs for CFMs and transport costs.
Cllr Deborah Earl, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Local Communities, said: “I am delighted the council is able to support this fantastic project in Copeland and Allerdale. Recycling Lives and FareShare have helped deliver over 50,000 meals to communities across the district, providing a valuable service to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. I look forward to continuing our partnership and to developing the same offer throughout the rest of the county in future.”
Recycling Lives delivers food to a second LCP in Rheged, Penrith, and is this month opening its third in Carlisle. It supports 39 groups across Cumbria and a further 132 in Lancashire, delivered more than two million meals since the Food Redistribution Centre was launched in October 2015.
Jeff Green, Recycling Lives’ Food Redistribution Centre manager, added: “Our first LCP has been a huge success, feeding communities in some of the most deprived areas of Cumbria, allowing us to reach more people than ever before.”
The opening of the LCP followed the expansion of Recycling Lives’ commercial activities. The national recycling and waste management business supports and sustains three charitable programmes, including the food redistribution. The business invested £250,000 in opening a site in Workington in summer 2017, after winning a major contract with Sellafield Ltd.