A Sussex-based food rescue and redistribution not-for-profit organisation has hosted an event in West London in which a number of Ealing community groups attended to find more ways to better help residents.
UKHarvest, which says it is “on a mission to eliminate hunger and food waste through the redistribution of quality surplus food” held the event in Hammersmith and was attended by a number of borough organisations including YMCA Ealing, CAPE Project and Ealing Food Bank.
Through Tesco’s blue token scheme, UKHarvest has been helping residents in the borough through its partner organisations.
EALING.NEWS spoke to Jo Lodge from UKHarvest to find out more.
How long has your organisation been going for and how long have you been active in Ealing?
UKHarvest has been in operation since 2017, when it was simply our CEO and a van driver. Since then, the charity has grown enormously, and in 2022 we were able to open our community kitchen, Nourish Hub in Hammersmith, that supplies a donation-based system where anyone can come and enjoy a nutritious meal every day. Nourish Hub recently celebrated their first anniversary.
UKHarvest has worked with Tesco for nearly 2 years, and have been lucky enough to secure Tesco Community Grant funding from the Ealing area that has allowed funding for our free online educational material that is accessible to all.
What organisations and projects have you been involved in Ealing?
The organisations that attended the Train the Trainer event were YMCA Ealing, CAPE Project, Ealing Food Bank, Solace Centre and A2 Dominion
What does Train the Trainer event do?
The purpose of the Train the Trainer event was to, using Tesco Community Grant funding, connect with a range of local service providers to inform them about our funded online provisions, as well as the support UKHarvest provide in order for them to share and communicate this to their services users. These organisations included housing associations, food banks, and mental health support providers, all of which allows service providers access to ways to save money, gain access to nutritious rescued ingredients and allow them the resilience and confidence to cook at home for themselves and their families.
How much support have you received from Tesco to support Ealing projects?
How the grants are used is completely down to the charity receiving it. UKHarvest have completely created the free online resources for all, and having many organisations in the Ealing area, it was fantastic to hold the Train the Trainer event at Nourish Hub, making access to what we do, and how service users can access the online material more prominent to the service providers
What challenges are people in Ealing facing that your group is helping with?
As a charity, we work closely to rescue food destines for landfill, and ensure that it reaches the homes and plates of those facing food insecurity or food poverty.
The challenges facing Ealing residents is very similar to those around the country, where the rising cost of living is greatly impacting all households, and money for food is decreasing. We are noticing an increase in people using the charity, and those attending the Nourish Hub, and anticipate, over winter, that this will only increase further, especially as people seek warm safe places to reside.
Both UKHarvest and Nourish Hub strive to create communities that are not just welcoming, but informative, supportive and proactive in ensuring that all those who need it, receive the right kind of help.