With an estimated £1.2bn of food binned every year in the UK, one initiative in Mid Wales is on a mission to #fillbelliesnotbins.
Newtown Food Surplus is saving tonnes of food waste every week from supermarkets and redistributing it to the local community.
The project, which started in October 2021, has taken off in the local area, with hundreds of households turning up to collect food every week.
Monday to Friday, 10.30am-12.00pm, residents can take what they need from the site, only paying what they can afford.
Not only is the initiative reducing the environmental impact of food waste, but it is also helping with the growing cost of living crisis.
Project Manager, Vicky Rowe, said: “We are passionate about stopping good food from being wasted. Just think of the CO2 resources that went into making the food, only for it to be thrown away! We know that this is plugging a financial gap for many too.”
The project has recently received £100,000 from the National Lottery Fund, which will be used to pay staff and cover running costs, but they still rely heavily on volunteers.
PRIME Cymru Development Officer for North Powys, Janet Davies, is a big advocate for volunteering, recognising the social benefits of projects like this one. She has been helping volunteers to complete their Food Hygiene certificates for free.
Janet said: “Volunteering helps individuals to integrate with their local community, it gives purpose and helps to make them feel part of a team.
“Newtown Food Surplus is a great community project, with volunteers from all walks of life helping a wide range of local people.”
Katy Kidwell is one of the volunteers that Janet has supported. After moving to Newtown from England, she has found volunteering with the project to be a great way of connecting with her new community.
She said: “I would 100% recommend volunteering as a way of making friendships in a new area. Since working with Newtown Food Surplus I feel more plugged into the community and have made some really great connections – it’s been a lovely, welcoming, supportive environment.”
For more information or to get involved with Newtown Food Surplus, you can visit www.cultivate.uk.com.
If you are interested in getting to know your community better through volunteering, free support is available from PRIME Cymru. We can help you find suitable placements and complete relevant training. Get in touch on 01550 721813 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.