To highlight the devastation brought by the Cost of Living Crisis, FareShare Midlands recently hosted a Help Tackle Poverty in Lincolnshire event at their Lincoln warehouse, with the support of the Greater Lincolnshire Food Partnership and the Lincolnshire Co-op.
Senior representatives from local businesses, the public sector and the food industry were invited to visit the FareShare Midlands Lincoln depot and two local community food organisations, to find out firsthand about the current chronic need, support that is available and ways that they could get involved.
The Cost of Living Crisis in Lincolnshire
The impact of the increases in food, energy and fuel costs has only grown during the winter, and a recent survey by FareShare confirmed that 90% of the charities and community groups supported have seen a rise in demand since the Cost of Living Crisis took hold.
7 in 10 charities have seen people accessing support for the first time, and 78% of them are worried that this crisis will have a bigger impact than COVID19.
In Lincolnshire, at least 50,000 people live in areas recognised as being in the 10% most deprived areas in the country.
A word from Caroline Kenyon
The Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Food Partnership, Caroline Kenyon, welcomed guests with a short talk:
Everyone has their food story.
Mine is that my parents came from very different backgrounds – my father grew up in great privilege before WW2, while my mother’s father had grown up in the East End of London before WW1. He was one of four brothers and they were famous for always being hungry. When I was a little girl, I used to sit on his lap and say, Grandpa, tell me about the time you walked to Greenwich and stole the rhubarb!”
Then, it sounded to me like a story from a book.
But as an adult, I think, how hungry was he that walked several miles to Greenwich where there were fields of farmed rhubarb, that he stole it – and ate it raw? It must have been so painful for his poor stomach.
Now, the thought of people going hungry, in one of the world’s richest but most unequal countries, makes me distressed and angry in equal measure.
It’s a real privilege to be here today at the Lincoln depot of FareShare Midlands. It’s a hugely impressive operation.Caroline Kenyon, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Food Partnership
FareShare Midlands is the Midlands’ largest food redistribution charity, turning an environmental problem into a social solution. The charity takes surplus food that would otherwise go to waste and redistributes it to local charities and community organisations.
These organisations, at the frontline of the battle against poverty, offer access to food, meals and additional support to vulnerable locals in severe need.
FareShare Midlands also provides opportunities for learning and development through bespoke Employability programmes that are helping people into work – some for the first time and some after a long pause.
Lincoln Community Grocery
Guests visited Lincoln Community Grocery, which was set up during COV19 as local people were unable to afford to put basic food on the table. Today members pay a £5 annual fee and subsequently £4 each time they use the shop.
Members have access to free courses and can also relax, socialise and enjoy the onsite café. The Grocery has seen a substantial increase in daily visitors in the last 2 months.
“It’s so important that organisations work together to tackle both food waste and food poverty.
FareShare in Lincolnshire are a key part of this and we at the Lincoln Community Grocery greatly benefit from connecting with them to put good food into the baskets of our members.”Simon Hawking, CEO, Acts Trust
Abbey Access Training
Guests also visited Abbey Access Training to enjoy a delicious lunch created from surplus food delivered by FareShare Midlands.
Abbey Access Training offers programmes that develop voluntary, training and educational skills and community activities.
The onsite community-led café offers affordable meals, as well as training and learning opportunities for local people.
“Working with Fareshare has been instrumental in us developing a series of new programmes to help those in our community struggling with the cost of living, versus healthy cooking and eating.
The Centre puts on ‘Cooking on a Budget’ and ‘How to use an Air Fryer, Slow Cooker and Microwave’ sessions about how to make healthy and nutritious meals that reduce energy costs.
The food for these sessions comes from Fareshare Midlands and learners get to take the meals home to feed their families.
For some of the courses, learners get to take a slow cooker home too.”Gail Dunn, Centre Manager, Abbey Access Training
“Lincolnshire was designated as one of the poorest regions in northern Europe when we were in the EU, and it’s heartbreaking that the need for help here is growing exponentially.
Nonetheless, I’m hugely cheered to see amazing work of FareShare Midlands, Lincolnshire Coop and Lincoln Community Grocery, which is a model of collaboration and ingenuity.”Caroline Kenyon, the Greater Lincolnshire Food Partnership
“We were delighted to provide a glimpse into how we redistribute surplus food across Lincolnshire, and even more keen to showcase our hardworking members who get this food to vulnerable locals and hungry families.
We want to thank our amazing partners for supporting this event and hope it raises awareness of the chronic need across Lincolnshire.
As the Cost of Living Crisis continues, we need financial donations, the support of more volunteers in the warehouse, and to unlock even more good-to-eat surplus food.
We hope this event will encourage local people to support us and help drive change across the region.”Simone Connolly, Chief Executive, FareShare Midlands
“We were really proud to support the launch of the Fareshare Midlands Lincoln depot back in 2021, and the number of meals the Hub has distributed is an astounding figure, both in terms of reducing food surplus and showing the level of need out there.
We hope we can encourage more volunteers to get involved and food businesses to donate to support our communities.”Mark Finn, Lincolnshire Co-op
How you can help
Due to the increases in food, fuel and energy costs FareShare Midlands urgently needs support.
The organisation needs local people with spare time and a passion for food and/or the environment. To explore Fareshare’s rich and rewarding volunteer opportunities, please visit this page:
At the same time, the requirements for food are increasing across the region.
If you have surplus food, including hard-to-place or short-shelf life surplus, Fareshare can help you divert this while fighting food waste and hunger:
By supporting Fareshare with a regular gift, you will help enable them to continue delivering surplus food to charities and community groups across the Midlands, to reach vulnerable men, women and children living in food poverty.
Each £1 donated provides 4 meals:
Find out more
Lincoln Community Grocery
Abbey Access Training