Tonnes of surplus fresh food are thrown away each day. Indeed, it’s estimated that the average UK family could save approximately £840 a year if they stopped throwing their food waste into the bin. Yet throughout Wales thousands of people regularly experience hunger, often turning to foodbanks for emergency support, a situation that has been exacerbated due to Covid-19 and the impact on employment.
The Centre for Building Social Action (CBSA), is a social justice organisation whose head office sits right in the heart of Llanelli, an area recently identified as being one of the top 20 most disadvantaged UK towns, lacking in resilience to the economic shock caused by Covid-19.
Recognising the twin issues of surplus food and food insecurity, the CBSA are piloting an innovative membership scheme that aims to save households’ struggling to pay their bills money, and cut food waste. With funding from the Welsh Government’s Landfill Disposals Tax (LDT) Communities Scheme which is managed by WCVA, CBSA aims to open a Food Club at its offices at Lord Arthur Rank Centre on Trostre Road. The Food Club is in addition to the services already provided by CBSA for the people of Carmarthenshire; the centre is already home to a tool library which lends a range of DIY tools to families across the County, a workspace for community use, an ICT hub for young people, a clothes bank and many other resources for households needing to make their money go that little bit further.
The Food Club will initially open every Thursday and Friday from September, and will be fully stocked with a range of foodstuffs with the emphasis being on fresh food including fruit, vegetables and dairy produce, as well as frozen and tinned goods. For just £3.50 a week, members will be able to select 10 items with the aim being for members to end up with a basket of food worth around £12 to £15 each week. The food comes from surplus stock from supermarkets which is so important in helping to reduce food waste, and Members will also be provided with handy tips and recipes about how to minimise their own food waste. With Covid-19 presenting challenges with regards social distancing, initially the Food Club will provide deliveries until such a time as measures allow safe access to the premises.
Chief Executive of CBSA, Mike Theodoulou said “The food club has been set up to offer longer-term support, based on the idea that for many in this age of austerity, falling living standards and now Covid 19, food insecurity is both chronic and reoccurring. By providing secure access to good quality food, we hope it will allow people to plan and budget, helping them to move away from the need to access emergency food supplies”
The food club is part of a bigger project called WiseUpToWaste. The project will use the kitchens at the CBSA centre to produce tasty food which will supply a Community Fridge, whilst outside a small community garden will provide the club with fresh food. We will also give advice and guidance for beginner gardeners who want to try to grow their own food and save waste through home composting. Lastly, members will be offered support and advice to minimise food wastage through a tool-kit specially designed for the project.
WiseUptoWaste workshops will initially be delivered either on-line or via a written manual, but it’s hoped that as social distancing regulations are relaxed, eventually some face to face events will be able to take place; along with community meals and events.
Further information on the CBSA’s Food Club can be found on our web site at www.cbsa.org.uk or by contacting us on 01554 779910. Further details on how to become a member of the Food Club will be released shortly