This month sees the launch of a new partnership aimed at reducing food waste and distributing surplus produce to where it’s most needed across Hampshire.
The partnership, between Hampshire County Council, VIVID and food rescue charity UKHarvest, will mean Hampshire can now also benefit from a scheme which has already seen success in West Sussex.
Funded by grants of £63,500 from Hampshire County Council’s share of the UK Government’s Household Support Fund, plus £8,000 from VIVID, the partnership will see UKHarvest collecting surplus food from a variety of places including farms, retail distribution centres, food suppliers and events. Food will be sorted and delivered at no cost to a range of locations including food banks, community pantries, homeless projects, Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) schemes, and other organisations supporting those who are struggling with food insecurity.
Initially, food will be redistributed in Havant, Waterlooville, Hayling Island, Petersfield and Fareham, with plans to extend this to the whole of Hampshire. The partners will work together to build the initial year-long project into a sustainable and ongoing venture, building a network of suppliers of surplus food across Hampshire and recipients as well as exploring future funding opportunities.
Hampshire County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Edward Heron, welcomed the partnership, saying:
“I am pleased to support this initiative to develop county-wide food surplus collection and its redistribution completely free to projects providing food where it’s most needed. This is a commonsense solution to the twin problems of food waste and food insecurity, and I’d like to encourage Hampshire businesses that have surplus food to get in touch with the project.”
Yvonne Thomson, UKHarvest CEO added:
“This new partnership provides an invaluable opportunity to elevate our impact across Hampshire, extending our reach to the most vulnerable communities in the south of England. Through this collaboration, we will significantly increase our operation across the county, making a real difference to local families and individuals most in need.”
More details of the partnership, including how to get in touch, can be found on UK Harvest’s website at: https://www.ukharvest.org.uk/hampshire
Derek Streek, VIVID’s Head of Communities, Standards and Partnerships, commented: “We are delighted to be able to support UK Harvest and the work they do with the local communities. And be able to play a part in helping customers gain access to fresh fruit and vegetables and invaluable advice on staying healthy. We are dedicated in supporting our customers to live in healthy environments and have access to initiatives within their communities to work towards reducing health inequalities including food and fuel poverty.”