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FoodCycle’s funding boost to tackle food waste

FoodCycle Bristol Manager Amy Hale with volunteer Shane Jordan

FoodCycle Bristol Manager Amy Hale with volunteer Shane Jordan

Press release issued: 30 October 2012

An award-winning food recycling initiative in Bristol has wowed judges in a Dragon’s Den-style pitching challenge for charities, winning a welcome cash boost for its work to tackle food waste.

FoodCycle Bristol, run by students at the University of Bristol, successfully bid for £3,600 from The Funding Network Bristol (TFN Bristol) – a unique organisation which  brings together groups of like-minded donors interested in social change, and puts them face-to-face with small charities who make a pitch for funding.

The cash injection means FoodCycle Bristol can invest in new equipment, training for its volunteers and more community outreach.

Its aim is to help alleviate food poverty in the city by collecting food which supermarkets and grocers would otherwise throw away and creating wholesome meals which are then served for free in the Easton Community Centre, catering for around 50 beneficiaries every Sunday.

Amy Hale, FoodCycle Bristol Manager, said: “We were absolutely over the moon to win the money from The Funding Network. Because we're financially self-sustainable, this extra input of money leaves us free to grow the project and work on new ideas.  We’ve already been mulling over some exciting plans and we warmly welcome ideas from anyone interested in FoodCycle.”

The running of FoodCycle Bristol is completely co-ordinated by volunteers from throughout the community who either help run the kitchen or transport the waste food to the kitchen using bicycle trailers. 

Over 3,400 meals have now been served since 2009, saving 670kg of food from being thrown away each month.

A popular pop-up student restaurant, held every fortnight, attracts an average of 120 people paying just £3 for a three-course meal, a contribution which allows FoodCycle to be self-sustainable.

The extra money from The Funding Network Bristol will help buy another bicycle and trailer, buy new cooking equipment and train up additional volunteers. There are also plans afoot to run workshops in schools or at the community kitchen, run additional events and develop a new community garden project.

For further information or to get involved, please see the FoodCycle Bristol Facebook page, join the mailing list via http://groupspaces.com/FoodCycleBristol/ or email foodcyclebristol@gmail.com

Further information

TFN Bristol is supported by Bristol Quartet Community Foundation. For more information, please visit: http://www.quartetcf.org.uk and http://www.thefundingnetwork.org.uk The annual TFN Bristol fundraising evening was held at the Mansion House, Clifton, and sponsored by Rathbone Greenbank Investments.

About food poverty and food waste

FoodCycle promotes the principle that people need to reconsider the intrinsic value of food and promote healthy, community meals.

In a world where one in six people go hungry every day, a third of the world’s food supply could be saved by reducing waste – enough to feed three billion people.

According to the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral nutrition (BAPEN), an incredible three million people suffer from malnutrition across the UK. This is set to increase as the recession bites, resource depletion continues, food prices soar and food donations decrease. BAPEN estimates this malnutrition costs the NHS £13billion each year. Malnutrition causes a huge range of health problems and prevents people from living full and healthy lives. Many of those on extremely low or no income eat very little or no fresh fruit and vegetables.

Such shocking food poverty becomes far starker when considered alongside the enormous amount of edible food disposed of in the UK. Defra figures show that between one third and one half of food produced for the UK is wasted. This figure represents only the tip of the iceberg, wastage in supply chains is currently unmonitored. Forty per cent of UK fruit and veg is rejected on cosmetic grounds.

There is a great need to increase the efficiency of use of food resources in the UK, both to feed those stricken by malnutrition and to protect the environment. Food waste is becoming ever higher on the international agenda; the European Commission is planning to make 2014 the European Year of Food Waste.