The fantastic team at FareShare’s London depot who ensure essential food supplies are delivered to the charities and foodbanks helping people in need in the capital is expanding thanks to the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change campaign.
We’re investing £20 million over the next three years to help FareShare and The Trussell Trust – and at FareShare’s London depot our funding has paid for delivery driver Jeff Davis and coordinator Philippa Conlin to join full time.
FareShare has around 20 volunteer drivers who give their time each week to distribute food – and FareShare’s London development manager Rachel Ledwith says having Jeff on board full time will be a tremendous help.
She said: “Asda’s support is making a huge difference. This funding means we can expand our reach further across the city, reaching those communities in the Greater London boroughs where we are seeing an increasing need for our services.
"Without drivers we have no way of delivering the food. Our volunteers are brilliant and keep our operation moving, but with an employed driver we have a guarantee that deliveries will happen on the days they work – it makes our operation and support much more sustainable.”
Derek Blunden is one of the volunteer drivers who distributes food for FareShare. He wanted to give something back to the community after selling his printing business following a cancer diagnosis.
Derek said: "I was going to work until I was 70, but I got diagnosed with prostate cancer about five years ago. About two years ago I fell asleep at work, which was due to the side effects of the treatment. I thought, ‘What am I doing, I'm 67 – I'm going to jack this in and give something back to the community.'
"I wanted to volunteer with the NHS but signing up with them would have taken several months, so I went along to a local volunteering centre. They suggested FareShare, and it's been the best thing that's ever happened to me.
"I distribute food parcels to all sorts of people – on a typical day I could be visiting a foodbank, a community centre hosting a meal for elderly people and a hostel for homeless people – and they're all extremely grateful. That's one of the best things about doing the driving job - you see the end product, and you're the person they thank, even though all I do is deliver the food!"
Strengthening the Deptford depot is enabling FareShare to enhance its service and work with more charities and community groups.
Rachel said: "The extra manpower makes a real difference – the two new recruits grew our team from five to seven. By growing our team, we’re able to offer an enhanced and more consistent service, enabling our charity members to support and help feed even more people.
"Philippa is responsible for signing up new charities and keeping in touch with all existing members to ensure our service continues to deliver as they evolve and expand. They may need more food as the savings they make from having a FareShare membership allows them to support more people, open extra hours, do more activities. They may need different food as they engage with more people in their community.
"Food needed for children, young adults, older people, different faith groups can be very different so Philippa will help to ensure everyone gets more of what they need.
"FareShare’s mission is to access and redistribute the estimated 270,000 tonnes of food which goes to waste in the UK each year, and redistribute it to those in need. Asda’s funding is enabling us to do that – affording us the opportunity to invest in our resource to over the next three years, feed thousands more vulnerable people across London and the UK each week. We are really grateful for their support."
For everything they do, we’re wishing a big festive thank you to all the team at FareShare Deptford, from everyone at Asda.