With many of us still trying hard to work off the extra pounds after a Christmas of excess, unfortunately not everyone in the South West was able to indulge in that extra mince pie, as food poverty still remains a critical issue for many people in the region.
Local food waste charity FareShare South West (FSSW) has been working hard in the last year to help make up the shortfall and in 2014 they delivered 410 tonnes of food to 4255 disadvantaged people. This is the equivalent of 964,305 meals.
The charity, an independent franchise of national charity FareShare, works with the food industry to minimise fit-for-purpose food going to waste, and sends this food to organisations working with vulnerable people in the community.
Awareness of food waste and poverty has grown enormously over the last couple of years and in 2014, IOP Publishing (IOP) adopted FSSW as their charity of the year, following a staff vote at their Bristol headquarters.
Through the many group fundraising events set up by IOP staff, such as pub quizzes, a music night, an overnight walk, to personal endeavours such as a skydive and a two-day ultra-marathon, staff at the company have been able to donate more than £8000 to FSSW to support their work.
Staff also gave their time to help the charity with design work, writing, social media and HR advice, on top of volunteering in the FSSW warehouse itself.
Jacqui Reeves, CEO of FSSW, said: “This is the first time that we have been adopted by a company as their charity of the year and we are delighted that IOP have raised such a huge amount of money for us, as well as all the volunteer hours.
“We have already been able to lease a new van, which has enabled us to extend the reach of our projects. We plan to use the remaining funds to help towards our volunteer programme where we offer support, advice and accredited training to volunteers who are, or have been, vulnerable. IOP’s efforts show what a huge difference local businesses can have in the community when they get involved in this way.”
Karen O’Flaherty, HR Director of IOP said: “At the start of last year, when we first learned about the work of FareShare, we were absolutely staggered by the amount and the quality of food that the charity receives, all of which would otherwise have gone to landfill.
“Adopting a charity of the year is a fantastic way to help support the local community and our staff have worked exceptionally hard to raise money as well as freely donating their time and skills through voluntary work. It shows just how dedicated everyone is in making a difference in our local area, as well as making the principles of our corporate social responsibility policy a reality. We wish FSSW the very best in their future work.”
IOP provides fund matching to support staff in raising money for their charity of the year and in 2015, employees have selected Bristol Mind as their adopted charity.