Fri 17 December 21
FareShare – Impact report: April 2021 – December 2021
Pacifica Group’s ongoing support of FareShare helped us to rescue and redistribute enough surplus food for the equivalent of over 36,000 meals to vulnerable people across the UK.
This food is reaching a wide range of community organisations who provide vital food services across the UK. The biggest beneficiaries of FareShare food are children and families who represent 68% of those accessing our food. By using FareShare, charities have been able to start new food services and increase the frequency of existing food services as demand for emergency food aid has increased throughout the pandemic. Examples include:
- Food banks and pantries supporting vulnerable families and individuals by supplying food parcels.
- School run clubs and food banks. Many schools we work with have developed new services to support struggling families as well as continuing breakfast and after school clubs.
- Community cafes and centres. This underlines the importance of community spaces for delivering support services locally.
70% of charities have been able to increase the number of people accessing their food services. Importantly our food saves these services funds that can be reinvested back into their frontline services. Last year FareShare provided £28m worth of savings to the UK voluntary sector through the food we provided.
Between 1st April 2021 and 30th November 2021 FareShare
- Redistributed over 25,000 tonnes of food
- The equivalent of almost 61 million meals
- To 5129 frontline charities, schools and community groups
Social need at all-time high
Even though there is light at the end of the tunnel as restrictions are lifted, the fact remains, many more people are experiencing deprivation as a result of the pandemic. This will put sustained pressure on many of the frontline charities we support.
Many charities that started emergency food support during the pandemic now plan to retain these services due to the local need. While it means that help can continue, pressure to supply FareShare food remains high. FareShare research of the charities receiving food from our Regional Centres has found:
- 90% anticipate demand for FareShare food will remain as high as crisis levels.
- Job loss, debt and mental health are cited as the three top reasons for people needing to access
- 75% of charities we work with tell us they can take more food.
For vulnerable people young and old, the impact of the past year and a half will be felt for years to come – as older people are able to go out into the world again, and to rebuild connections they may have lost during isolation, a hot meal of FareShare food can be the conversation starter they need.
For young people struggling to make up for lost time and lost education, a healthy start at their school breakfast club will help their concentration, behaviour and educational attainment. In a recent survey of the charities we supply, 65% of those supporting children said that the food helped their children better able to focus on education.
One of our biggest challenges at the moment is the unprecedented shortage of HGV drivers in the UK, caused as many of the EU nationals who once occupied these roles have now left the country as they are not classed as key workers. This is impacting the food industry as a whole, and many of FareShare’s haulage partners are having to prioritise the needs of retailers, which is making it more difficult and expensive to find delivery routes for our surplus food. In response we are currently trialling a new fleet of FareShare collection vehicles which we can operate independently to rescue food, which if successful will be rolled out across our UK network.
Thank you for your support
We have been very grateful to of had your support over the last 9 months. It has made a vital contribution to what we have been able to achieve in this extremely busy time for FareShare.
We know that the impact of the pandemic, which has already fallen disproportionately on those already vulnerable and affected by deprivation, will not end with the lifting of the current restrictions. It will continue to affect the lives of people already struggling, as the economic, health and social effects persist, and compound pre-existing social problems. We at FareShare will continue to do everything we can to provide as much food as possible to prevent people from going hungry, to draw them to valuable services, and fuel them to recover.
With the importance of our work highlighted by the pandemic, we have developed ambitious plans to grow the amount of food we can provide, aiming to reach 84,000 tonnes of food, or 200 million meals, in 2023/24. We know both the surplus food and the need exist to make this possible and socially necessary, so investment in bringing the two together is key.
Surplus food is such a valuable commodity. By supporting FareShare you are helping us squeeze as much social good as possible from rescued food. Thank you so much.
Food is helping Oasis Hub Bath create a space where all are welcome
“Because people come to the pantry every week you can build a relationship with them. Coming to the Pantry is often just the beginning of the support we offer,” says Jo Dolby of Oasis Hub Bath. Oasis Hub Bath is a church and community charity, and is open to all who need support.
Currently they support around 131 households per week through their two food pantries, and an additional 30 to 45 families through their Make Lunch program, which combats holiday hunger. They also offer support services, which have helped some 233 people in the past year.
The food that Jo and her team get from FareShare allows them to offer variety and nutrition to those they work with: “The food from FareShare varies from week to week. Fresh fruit and veg always goes down well with families, it’s often things that are hard to afford so it makes it easier to provide their children with fruit and veg. We also include recipe ideas and families are really appreciative of that, especially during Covid with everyone being cooped up.”
For many of the families that Oasis Hub Bath works with, school holidays can be a particularly challenging time: “It can be really difficult for families to feed their children during the school holidays when they’re no longer getting free school meals. We’ve heard stories of parents going without food to make sure their children have enough, or children who come back to school having not eaten properly for a week, which of course has a huge effect on their concentration and mental health. So we want to fill that gap.”
“It’s not just food, we always try to provide some enrichment as well,” Jo continues. “Families who are struggling often aren’t able to go on holiday so during lockdown we’ve been providing ‘enrichment bags’ along with the food parcels. They’ll have games and activities, usually around a theme – for the holiday in June we did a ‘festival in a bag’.”
“Having that food makes life a bit easier,” explains Jo. “The contact and sense of connection I think is even more important than we’d realised before the pandemic. It can really boost people’s mental health just to have a conversation and have somewhere they know they’re welcome. We can also signpost them to further support they might need.”
Oasis Hub Bath is a supportive and inclusive space for all, and have particularly committed to making LGBTQ+ members of the community feel welcome: “We don’t just welcome but affirm and celebrate LGBTQ+ people in our church. We know we’re not perfect but we are learning all the time and we’re determined to be a place of safety for LGBTQ+ people or anyone in the community who needs support.”
Though Jo and her team are helping to address an immediate need, they’re determined to be there for the community in the long-term as well: “These issues aren’t going to go away overnight. What we want to do is build a community of people so that we’re able to offer support in a holistic way. It’s not just about crisis support, it’s about being there for people in the long-term and walking alongside them on their journey.”
Thank you Pacifica Group for your generous support!
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