Fusion21 Foundation has provided a vital grant of £30,000 to FareShare Midlands, to enable the charity to extend the reach and impact of the innovative Community Meals Service across the Midlands. This important next step will allow the volume of surplus food accepted to grow, the number of meals produced to increase and the amount of charitable and not-for-profit organisations in receipt of the meals to also rise.
The Fusion21 Foundation is part of the national procurement provider Fusion21. A social enterprise specialising in efficient and impactful public sector procurement, Fusion21 delivers visible social value through its frameworks, making a positive impact in the communities it works in. Since its inception in 2015, the Fusion21 Foundation has given over £1.6 million in grants and has committed £2 million in social investment.
FareShare Midlands is the region’s largest food redistribution charity, turning an environmental problem into a social solution. The charity takes good quality surplus food from the food industry and gets it to local people experiencing food poverty, financial hardship and social isolation. Currently, 13 million people in the UK are facing food insecurity, and 132,000 children are living in poverty in Birmingham alone. 67,000 vulnerable people receive FareShare Midlands surplus food every week, and the charity supports more than 550 local charities that tackle hunger, poverty and the ongoing effects of the cost of living crisis.
In June 2022, with support from Nottingham City Council, FareShare Midlands embarked on the meal production pilot and started developing the Community Meals Service. From the commercial kitchen at Loxley House (Nottingham City Council’s HQ), two dedicated chefs and a team of hardworking volunteers turn difficult-to-use surplus food into fresh, healthy and delicious meals. These complete, pre-cooked and nutritious meals are shared with local groups including social eating spaces, community groceries and homeless shelters.
FareShare Midlands is now rolling the service out across Birmingham, and as well as the greater volume of surplus food to be redistributed, FareShare Midlands will also be able to extend existing volunteering and employability training programmes. Furthermore, the project aligns with the Birmingham City Council Birmingham Food Systems Strategy 2020-2030 to create a bold, sustainable, healthy and thriving food system.
By providing the grant of £30,000 to the Community Meals Service, Fusion21 Foundation is supporting people in need across the Midlands, helping FareShare Midlands and their local charity members to fight food insecurity, nutritional inequalities, social isolation, poverty and the detrimental effect food waste has on the environment.
Head of Fusion21 Foundation Jo Hannan said:
“The Foundation’s main objectives are to make a visible impact in the areas of financial inclusion and resilience as well as health and wellbeing. We’re proud to provide this much-needed grant funding to such a fantastic initiative, making a real impact in people’s lives.”
FareShare Midlands Chief Executive, Simone Connolly said:
“Meal production is helping us unlock even more surplus food from the food industry. The meals, which are minimally processed and immediately frozen, offer sustainable, affordable meals to our charity members. The Service saves them time and energy spent cooking meals, and costs relating to utilities, staff and ingredients. These frontline community organisations offer meals to vulnerable families in need as part of a community pantry offering or community café service.
“We know that increasing access to meals in a social setting has a positive impact on the mental and emotional well-being of service users, leading to improvements in community health, wellbeing and social cohesion. We are also proud to be saving greater levels of surplus food from being unnecessarily wasted.”
Due to the current increases in food, fuel and energy costs, FareShare Midlands urgently needs support. The requirements for food are increasing across the region. If you have surplus food, including hard-to-place or high-value surplus, FareShare can help you divert this while fighting food waste and hunger: https://faresharemidlands.org.uk/food-donation/.
At the same time, FareShare need volunteers in their warehouse, kitchen and to drive the vans. FareShare are seeking local people with spare time and a passion for food and/or the environment: https://faresharemidlands.org.uk/volunteer-with-us/. By supporting FareShare with a regular gift, you will help them to reach men, women and children living in food poverty and each £1 donated provides 4 meals: https://faresharemidlands.org.uk/.
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