A not-for-profit project that helps to support low income families by distributing surplus supermarket food has opened in a retail park in Telford.
The Food Share Project, part of the Connect Aid CIC, has moved to an 8000 sq ft retail unit at Rampart Court, Telford, after agreeing a lease deal with national property and commercial investment company LCP, which owns and manages the retail park.
The project, which was founded last year by Lea Beven, distributes food to families and individuals who are in crisis. It receives tonnes of donations every week from Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Greggs, Asda and independent stores, as well as from the charity FareShare.
In August alone, it saved 34 tonnes of food from ending up in landfill and over the past few months, during the peak of the pandemic, helped to supply food for 53,000 people in Shropshire, Willenhall, and in Cornwall.
It had run a series of pop-up events at community centres from where it distributed food that had been donated by suppliers the previous evening.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit and lockdown occurred, the project was offered temporary space at Park Lane Centre in Woodside.
But as society began to re-open, and the community centre was able to re-open to the public, the project needed to find a new space that could accommodate its freezers, fridges and trolleys and the growing amount of produce that it receives. It also needed space for its four vans, which are used for “pop-up” food distribution services in local communities.
LCP stepped in to help the project, so it can continue its vital work to share overstock of fresh fruit and vegetables, chilled and ambient food, to support low-income families.
Lea Beven said: “Moving to Rampart Court means we are able to open a pallet warehouse, which will offer discounted food for people on low incomes. This will enable people to come in and donate whatever they feel they can for the food they pick up, which will supplement our pop-up events for which people receive bags of nutritious food for a service charge £2 per person, which covers the costs of transportation and storage.
“We’ve very grateful to LCP for contacting us about this space and offering very favourable terms because it means we have a proper home for the foreseeable future and can do even more to help people.”
Food Share Project, which has just received its five star hygiene certificate, has about 85 volunteers.
Simon Eatough, senior asset manager at LCP, said: “The Food Share project is a superb scheme and we were only too pleased to contact them about the unit at Rampart Court. As a property company that prides itself on working within the local convenience parade sector, we understand only too well about the need to have good-quality facilities on people’s doorsteps.”