It’s been a year of growth for FoodCycle in 2017, in more ways than one.
We opened 6 more projects this year – Salford Langworthy and Prestwich in Manchester, as well as Bow Road, Cricklewood, Finsbury Park, and Dalston in London – widening our reach across the UK and bringing tasty meals to more communities. This takes the total number of FoodCycle projects to 34, the most we’ve had to date.
We’re delighted to have made even more progress in our mission to alleviate food poverty, food waste, and social isolation in 2017. In the past year, we’ve served a whopping 60,176 nutritious, community meals – a new record for us.
Our fabulous volunteers have logged over 40,000 hours this year – that’s the equivalent to 4.5 years. Their hard work and passion helped us to reach new milestones, including creating amazing meals using over 100 tonnes of perfectly edible surplus food. That means we’ve also saved that much food from unnecessarily going to waste.
The last 12 months has also seen a strategy shift at FoodCycle, including bringing in some fantastic regional managers to support projects across the UK. This change means we now have unique local insight on communities, and we’re better able to serve them.
Our on-the-ground success has also been supported by our growth on social media, with much help from our projects using online platforms to recruit volunteers and engage with local communities.
We’ve also worked with our friends at Feedback to engage more 18-24 year old volunteers in the fight against food waste, connecting with their gleaning projects to bring more wonky fruit and vegetables to FoodCycle cooks.
More than anything, we’re proud of the impact FoodCycle projects have had on our guests: 37% of them say they’ve made new friends at FoodCycle and 67% strongly agree FoodCycle is good for their community, while 43% say they’ve tried new food at our meals. Moreover, our guests have found many reasons to keep coming back, as they’ve been coming for an average of 1.5 years.
Jonathan from FoodCycle Liverpool said: “I’ve been coming here for about six months. I wanted to come here originally for the food, I’m unemployed so you know, it’s a struggle. I’ve had problems with my health you see which makes it difficult to work.”
“But places like this, they’re lifelines. They’re really important. Plus I see the same faces when I come each week you know, and it’s good, people coming together over food and stuff. It’s a good thing innit. You people are marvellous like, so thank you. You’re brilliant.”
Mary McGrath, Chief Executive of FoodCycle, said: “When we speak to our guests, they tell us the value of sitting down for a communal, three-course dinner.”
“Some like to come to FoodCycle to talk and interact with other people, and feel less alone. Others come for the healthy meals we serve. FoodCycle is pleased to create a warm environment for all”
FoodCycle has taken great strides toward fulfilling its goals in 2017. But our work isn’t over. Many still need company and nutritious meals every day in the UK.
“2017 has been our biggest year so far,” Mary said. “But we are excited to serve more meals in many more places in the UK in 2018.”
Sign up here to get involved as a volunteer or Project Leader in 2018.