A charity which turns surplus groceries into three-course vegetarian meals is opening up in six new areas of London.
FoodCycle provides free weekly meals to anyone who needs them at 11 locations across the capital but, as the cost of living crisis continues to bite, is ramping up its operations to feed hundreds more people every week.
It will launch six new centres this year and by 2024 aims to be feeding over 4,000 people in 30 London districts with over 126,000kg of surplus food – roughly the weight of 25 African elephants.
The expansion of the service is being made possible thanks to a grant of £174,800 from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.
City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:
“The service FoodCycle offers is a simple but really effective way of taking food that would otherwise end up in the bin and turning it into healthy, nutritious meals.
“As the cost of living crisis begins to hit millions of Londoners, this funding will help tackle food poverty, loneliness and isolation across the capital.”
The City Bridge Trust funding will enable FoodCycle to open up new community meals projects at six locations in the next year, the first of which will run in King’s Cross and Waltham Forest.
It will also support the charity’s existing operations in Bow Road, East Ham, Finsbury Park, Hackney, Islington, Lewisham, Kilburn, Marylebone, Peckham, Wandsworth Road and White City.
FoodCycle says the coronavirus pandemic, the rising cost of living and the impact of the war in Ukraine is pushing more people into food poverty and increasing demand for its service.
FoodCycle Trusts and Foundations Manager Tom Osborne said:
“What we see at the moment is that people are struggling – those we are supporting have been squeezed further and it’s inevitable that more people will end up in poverty and need.
“Our meals help our guests eat more healthily, try new foods and save money. They also have a really important benefit of helping people feel less lonely and more connected with their community by coming together in a safe space and making new friends.”