After originally operating as an outreach project through Telford Food Share in 2020, Newport Food Save and Share established themselves as an independent organisation in February 2021. Since then, they have seen the number of people they support with food grow from around 30 to 300.
With a goal to rescue perfectly edible food from going to landfill, the organisation runs a social supermarket- style event every Monday morning for anyone to attend. Here, individuals are able to come and collect a wide variety of food for themselves, or their families, for just a small donation of £2 per head. Fiona, the project’s Team Leader, explains “we have about 100 people queuing each Monday, who will often be collecting for their families… People begin queuing from 9am… but we try to be really fair, so those at the back of the queue will get the same as those at the front.”
The project is run by a team of 16 dedicated, well-trained volunteers, who collect surplus food from local food retailers and manufacturers such as Waitrose, Greggs, Avara Foods and many more. The collected food is supplemented by a weekly delivery from FareShare Midlands on Monday mornings. The food is then sorted into their chillers and freezer, or displayed for their customers to come and fill their bags, with anything from frozen chicken, sausage rolls and meat pies, to fresh produce, baked goods and ice cream.
Despite the event only lasting an hour, Fiona explains that it is a positive environment for people to socialise, especially for single mothers and the elderly; “it’s the highlight of the week they tell us, they all know each other and have a chat whilst in the queue”.
Fiona explains that while they try to support anyone who is in need of extra help (and will sometimes make deliveries to a vulnerable local unable to make it to the centre), everybody is welcome to use the food saving project; “we don’t have any criteria for our customers... anyone can just turn up and join the queue… For most people it helps the weekly food budget.” Fiona adds “there’s a lot of people who just get by. It only takes a car bill or something to breakdown and there’s not a lot left behind to pay for that.”
As well as running their supermarket event on Mondays, Newport Food Save and Share also try to support local charities whenever possible with the funds they collect and raise. One of the ways they’ve utilized this money is in partnership with the nearby foodbank in Newport, by supporting 80 children over the Christmas and Easter school holidays with specially designed treats from a local bakery.