Food redistribution charity FareShare Yorkshire is seeking new charities and community groups across the region that could benefit from fresh, in-date surplus food.

The initiative forms part of a nationwide project with British Red Cross in partnership with Co-op, and aims to reach 400 charities tackling loneliness in their communities.

Loneliness has been linked to a range of damaging health impacts, like heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. But the problem doesn’t just affect older people. The British Red Cross and Co-op report Trapped in a Bubble, finds that young mums, people with mobility or health issues, people who have recently divorced, separated or become bereaved, and those whose children have left home are also at greater risk of social isolation.

Every year the Yorkshire warehouses, based in Barnsley and Leeds, takes almost 700 tonnes of good quality surplus food from the food industry, and redistributes it to charities and community groups who create nutritious meals which they deliver along with their vital services. These include community cafes, older peoples’ drop ins and family centres.

Olivia Field, loneliness and social isolation policy lead at the British Red Cross, said: “The British Red Cross and Co-op are committed to tackling loneliness and through our collaboration with FareShare we will be able to reach many more people who may be feeling isolated.

“We know from our own research that loneliness can and does affect people of all ages and backgrounds. Re-connecting with your community, such as through a meal at a local community centre, can help people forge friendships and social networks which can build resilience and prevent loneliness becoming a chronic way of life.”

FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell, said: “The effects of cooking and eating together can’t be underestimated; good food brings people together. The food we redistribute is great quality, exactly like the food you’d eat at home. With the support of the British Red Cross and Co-op we’re aiming to reach more of the frontline groups tackling this serious and growing issue, because we know our food helps them to engage with their clients.”

If you’re a community group who could benefit from surplus food, including fresh fruit and veg, bread, dairy products, fish and meat then get in touch with FareShare at fareshare.org.uk.

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