At Yarm Youth and Community Hall, we have continued our Covid response through our surplus food and distribution project funded from September to the end of February by National Lottery Covid Government.
This funding has enabled our charity to actively, ‘reduce food waste’, and ensure the food is re-distributed to our Little Sprouts projects, for referrals for individuals, or our project work with our partner organisations to distribute to local community groups/VCSE/schools, as this ensures we can help people experiencing food poverty to have access to nutritional food.
The volume of surplus food can be over 70kg - per day, with a food collection up to 6 days per week. The food can range from fresh fruit, vegetables, pastries, bread, non-perishable items and occasionally toiletries, which can all be donated. The services are delivered by three staff on a rota basis and a driver, and we have a base of 26 volunteers who support the project, throughout its day-to-day operations.
The funding has enabled us to employ a driver to collect the foods and distribute the produce to: -
-Havelock Road project twice a week
-Hartington Road, where produce is applicable.
-up to 50 individual referrals a week with doorstep delivery by our volunteers
-additional 150 people through community partners
Due to the volume of foods collected we committed to impacting the wider community through our work with our partner agencies, some of which we had worked in partnership pre-covid, and other we have built new relationships, as listed below is a selection of our partners who are also committed to helping us reduce food waste and distribute directly to their client making nutritious food available to everyone.
Eastern Ravens Trust, Norton Grange Community Centre in association with Groundwork, Kinship Carers at Norton Grange, Community Champions, Early Intervention Teams, Family Hubs, Social Work Teams, Bridge Mission, 4 Primary Schools, Dementia Group, Hardwick Methodist Church, St Peters Church Stockton, Dementia Link Services, Five Lamps, Thornaby Foodbank, Refugee Charity.
Donating the surplus food provisions enables us to support up to 200 people plus per week and retain our strength in our partnerships. Also, during summer holidays, October half term and the lockdowns we have continued to work with our partners, typically the groups working with families, and through their help they have identified which family were best to support, providing food provisions alongside their planned doorstop deliveries of craft boxes, lunch boxes and meal kits. We have evidence of a continual close working partnership with Eastern Ravens Trust, Norton Grange Community Centre/Groundwork and Kinship Carers, St Peters Church and Hardwick Methodist Church.
Locally we have had a fantastic response and support in the form of cash donations, Xmas hampers and volunteering in our project communities. We have built a powerful relationship with the supermarkets based on the pandemic's longevity, and they contribute more and more items each week alongside in-store collections from staff.
In Yarm the local banks, shops, Tetley plant in Eaglescliffe, Yarm Rugby Club, local schools, Yarm Churches, Sundaes, Yarm Town Council, HMP Kirklevington Prison – donate weekly meals, The Waiting Room and The Crown Pub– both donate meals, Yarm Independent School – nominated as one of their key charities, to name, but a few have all supported our charity since Covid.