Our latest blog post is about FoodCycle, and their current service in Newcastle. We spoke to Regional Manager, Harry Barham about their projects in Walker, Byker, and Westgate Road.
FoodCycle volunteers collect food donations from supermarkets and independent retailers across the region. They deliver them to community centres, ready for their volunteer cooks to use to create tasty meals for the local community. Each centre offers a 3-course meal for local residents once a week.
“We know we’re tackling big challenges: millions of people going hungry, thousands lonely and isolated, tonnes of food going to waste. But we believe we have a model – as well as the energy, ambition and positivity – to make a difference.
Mix a handful of volunteers, add a sprinkling of spare kitchens and a crate of surplus food and, hey presto, you have created something special: tasty, nutritious meals for hungry guests and spaces of welcome, friendship and community.”
Usually there would be the opportunity sit down and eat the meal in the community centre, where guests can chat to volunteers and other local residents. Due to covid this isn’t currently possible, so instead FoodCycle are operating a ‘Cook & Collect’ takeaway service so the local community can continue to benefit from the nutritious meal. Guests can collect their freshly made meal, from the community centre and enjoy it in the comfort of their own home.
FoodCycle aim to continue to connect with their guests and provide an opportunity for guests to socialise. Whilst guests may not be able to chat in person like they usually would, FoodCycle have recently introduced a new project ‘Check in & Chat’ where volunteers are calling up residents who are isolating at home, for a quick chat, to ensure they still feel part of the community. This provides an opportunity to reduce social isolation, whilst also sharing knowledge of food and nutrition for them to use at home.
FoodCycle are hoping to move back to serving community meals, with indoor seating once it is safe to do so.
How can I benefit from FoodCycle’s services?
FoodCycle’s ‘Cook & Collect’ service is available for anyone, simply turn up to one of their venues at the specified time to receive your meal. Meals are completely free, and you don’t need a voucher or referral to benefit from their service. See collection times below:
- Byker Community Centre, NE6 2DX – Thursday Evening 7.00-8.00pm
- Monkchester Community Centre, Walker, NE6 1LJ – Wednesday Lunchtimes 12.30pm – 1.30pm
- Westgate Baptist Church, NE4 6QD – Thursday Evening 7.00-8.00pm
You can also sign up to their ‘Check in & Chat’ service on their website https://www.foodcycle.org.uk/get-involved/check-in-and-chat/
How can I support FoodCycle?
FoodCycle are looking for more volunteers to support their growing network of projects, where you could help by collecting and delivering food donations, cooking at one of the community centres, hosting the guests and supporting them with their collections, or calling the guests to help them feel less isolated. Go to https://volunteer.foodcycle.org.uk/ to sign up, or to find out more about other ways to support FoodCycle such as donating or fundraising.
This post was written by Food Newcastle