You might be throwing away your most valuable asset… here’s what you can do about it

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A straw poll of attendees at the recent workshop I joined to shape the future of Love Food Hate Waste was revealing: by far the majority of the people in the room were busy food lovers, balancing work and family; generous in our cooking and lacking the time to plan our meals.  The bad news for us was that we were high on the list of food wasters.

Last week, The Grocer launched its new ranking of supermarkets’ efforts to tackle food waste. Another ranking was reported by The Evening Standard to launch its own food waste campaign. There are clear leaders and laggards emerging, but the league tables are significantly different. As a retailer, you could find yourself on 8th or 4th on any given day.

Both reports give credit where it’s due to the retailers working on the issue and the thousands of tireless volunteers who get this food to where it’s needed most. But it’s clear that the current state of play is nowhere near enough to tackle the disposal of perfectly good food – more than enough to feed a hungry UK – rather than redistribution.

In the coming months we can expect more action. Neighbourly has been announced among the latest signatories to the Courthuald Commitment, with its ambitious but achievable aims of a 20% reduction in food waste by 2025. 95% of the UK food retail market is now on board with this plan, setting up a powerful movement. The economic case is clear: £300 million could be saved every year by business.

But to see real change, we need to inspire a ‘new normal’ where people don’t tolerate the high rates of food waste. We need to think radically differently about our food. Even the idea of ‘waste’ puts people off the kind of enjoyable eating experience they’re looking for: rummaging through random assortment of yellow stickers might save us a few pence, but it’s not whetting our appetite.

But more importantly than that, food gives us the opportunity to unlock the potential of our communities. We all know that food is a wonderful way to bring people together, to tackle loneliness, to get healthy, and to fuel children’s learning. Wonderful projects we’ve supported, with food, volunteers and more, like Café in the Hall and Brixton Soup Kitchen show how food surplus can mean so much more than tackling waste.

We’re not just wasting food, we’re literally throwing away the opportunity to engage and nourish people.

Transparency, local connection and building communities has always been the hallmark of how Neighbourly Food works. We connect stores to local charities directly and help build the relationship between them and we amplify the amazing work that they do.

Take a look at the difference it makes in this video.

– Steve Haines, Head of Community Engagement

5 incredible projects in Plymouth & Exeter that need your help!

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If you haven’t heard already, something pretty exciting is kicking off in Plymouth & Exeter from the 5th September. These two cities are the next ones ready to take part in the nationwide event called Spark Something Good that has already unfolded in other parts of the UK including London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Bristol and Newcastle. We’ve been working with M&S employees to get stuck in to a whole host of amazing volunteer events from city to city. Are you looking for just the right opportunity to get stuck in to some fun volunteer work? We might have just the thing for you!

Here is just a handful of the 24 incredible projects involved: Continue reading

How to Help Bath’s Homeless and Actually Make a Remarkable Difference

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Could you help homeless people in Bath for a mere £1?

Imagine not knowing where you were going to sleep tonight, or rummaging through a bin to find your next meal. As a World Heritage Site, you don’t expect Bath to have a homelessness problem, but five areas in the city are within the most deprived 20% of the country.

What if there was a safe haven where you could get warm, socialise, and have a nice hot drink? Somewhere you could access emergency food, clothing, tents, a decent pair of boots – and even a haircut.

Lifeline is this place – a Bath-based drop-in centre for homeless and vulnerably housed adults (who could be “sofa surfing”, living in local B&Bs or even the woods – hence the access to tents). Open five days a week, it’s a place for people in hardship to have their basic needs met, along with a listening ear – with one-to-one advice from a supportive team on issues from benefits to rehab services. It’s one of ten projects run by the Genesis Trust, which has been working to alleviate poverty and hardship for local people in Bath since 1995.

Over 40 people use Lifeline daily, receiving a friendly welcome and a homely space to relax in for a few hours. A small team of three staff and 10 volunteers frequently go the extra mile for these vulnerable people, especially when they’ve been turned away by other agencies or have very complex problems. Here are a couple of first hand experiences:

“There’s always a sympathetic ear here, you don’t get judged – you get accepted at face value. Life Line has kept me alive and helped me out” Ellis, 48.

“I visited Genesis when I arrived in the city homeless and my shoes were worn out. I was given new boots and a rucksack and sleeping bag and a much needed cup of tea!” Pete, 29.

Lifeline has to move from its current base in Bath Abbey – by Christmas – to make way for building work. The Quakers have offered new premises at the Friend’s Meeting House, but the space requires substantial renovation and modernisation, which will cost £10,000 before it can become useable by visitors. Bath Abbey has been a fantastic base for this project and Lifeline wants its new centre to be equally welcoming.

Luckily, Lifeline has set up a three-month fundraising campaign right here on Neighbourly, to get in front of lovely, generous people like you!

With the funds, Lifeline will create:

  1. New toilets to accommodate the potential 40 people who use the service on a daily basis.
  2. An office/counselling room to provide one-to-one help.
  3. A clothing store for the city’s homeless to access outdoor wear, sleeping bags and tents
  4. Changes to the entrance/fire escape to bring it up to current safety standards.

So, how can you help? Follow the project, share on your social channels and donate, if you can – Lifeline are offering the chance to make a difference for one, gold £1 coin. Large or small, your donation will enable Lifeline to ensure it can continue making a huge difference to the lives of those living on the streets of Bath.

Victoria Knowles | Susty Girl

Neighbourly connects charity and community projects with people and companies that can lend a hand. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, sharing or giving a day to volunteer.

Edinburgh: 10 Opportunities to Give a Day to Your Community!

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If you live in Edinburgh there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Caledonian Brewery. It’s one of HEINEKEN’s many breweries in the UK and is a welcome and solid part of the community. You may also have heard the term #BrewingGood, this is the term being used for HEINEKEN’s efforts to support their local communities and it’s going pretty well. So well in fact, that the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh has taken on their very own initiative to support their community even further! Continue reading

When we gave out free hugs the response was remarkable!

Every so often at Neighbourly, the social team will sit down and decide on what we can do to get people talking, to spread positivity and attempt to bring people closer together. This time we settled on a sort of social experiment. Continue reading

How To Be a Happier Person

We all want to be happy, and the secret to happiness can often be seen as one of mystery, but as it turns out, it’s actually pretty straight forward. All you need to do is show a little gratitude. Continue reading

Are You More Successful Than You Think?

Success is a matter of perception. Some people believe it can only be measured in your professional life while others believe quite the opposite – and everyone’s criteria for success is different. Money, kindness, cause, well being, other people; these are some of the many factors people take into account. There is one thing we can rely on. The way that we look at ourselves. It’s very different to the way others see us. I completely get it though, it’s hard to feel successful, to feel fully satisfied with what you have, and it’s hard to stay positive about it. Continue reading