FareShare, the UK’s biggest surplus food redistribution charity, has opened a new warehouse in Milton Keynes to provide an estimated 370,000 meals to people in need over the next year.
FareShare South Midlands, based in Bletchley, is being run in partnership with SOFEA, a charity which works with young people to develop their skills and employability.
The Regional Centre, which will be FareShare’s twenty-fifth warehouse in the UK, aims to serve 49 charities and community groups and reach over 5,200 people at risk of hunger within its first year of opening.
FareShare is the largest operation of its kind in the UK, providing quality surplus food to frontline charitable organisations – including homeless hostels, school breakfast clubs, rehabilitation centres and elderly lunch clubs.
Currently, more than one in three children in Milton Keynes are living in poverty*. The need for FareShare’s service has never been higher and the Regional Centre’s launch was therefore vital in order to meet the needs of the city’s most vulnerable people.
The opening has been made possible thanks to investment from Asda as part of its Fight Hunger Create Change programme – a partnership between Asda, FareShare and the Trussell Trust which aims to support one million people in poverty across the UK. Over the course of three years, Asda is investing over £20 million to enable both charities to invest in infrastructure and offer more fresh food and crucial support and advice to people in need.
Richard Kennell, CEO of FareShare South Midlands and SOFEA, said: “SOFEA first launched in partnership with FareShare five years ago, when we opened FareShare’s Thames Valley branch.
“Our dual mission of fighting hunger and food waste, alongside supporting young people to achieve their potential, has proved a brilliant success in that region. In just five years, we have saved 1,000 tonnes of surplus food from waste whilst also supporting over 250 disadvantaged young people through our education programmes.
“At SOFEA, we believe everyone should have access to quality food and education – and we look forward to working with the community in Milton Keynes to make this vision a reality.”
“If you would like to get involved either by donating, providing food or registering as a charity member, we encourage you to get in touch.”
Lindsay Bowell, Chief Executive of FareShare UK, said: “Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of good food is wasted within the UK supply chain each year, yet at the same time, 8.4 million people across the UK are struggling to afford to eat.
“FareShare works with the food industry and charities to tackle both these issues, and so we are incredibly grateful to Asda for their support in enabling us to open a brand new warehouse in Milton Keynes. Their vital funding will be instrumental in ensuring good surplus food gets onto the plates of people who need it across Buckinghamshire.”
Stephi Brett-Lee, Senior Director Community and Corporate Affairs at Asda, said: “We’re really proud of our Fight Hunger Create Change programme and by bringing FareShare and the Trussell Trust together and investing in their infrastructure and essential services, we can help thousands more vulnerable people in Milton Keynes and nationwide to access good quality fresh food. Our Asda Fight Hunger Create Change programme aims to make a real difference in this local community, as well as on a larger scale as we continue to help people out of poverty and create a long term positive change in the UK by tackling the root causes of poverty and ensuring nobody goes hungry”.