Diane has been coming to FoodCycle Liverpool Old Swan since last summer, having discovered our weekly community meals through a friend.
After moving a few years ago into an area she didn’t know many people, her health declined meaning she couldn’t get out for months at a time.
One day, she told her friend how isolated she was feeling and her friend suggested them finding something to do together what would mean meeting new people. As they both struggled financially, they liked the sound of a free weekly community meal at the local Salvation Army and have been coming ever since.
What brought you to FoodCycle?
“I moved house to an adapted bungalow two years ago, to an area where I didn’t know many people. My health has been very poor and I had months at a time where I wasn’t getting out. I have a really good friend and I’d spoken to her about feeling very isolated and thought we could do something together to meet new people. We have both struggled financially and it is difficult for me to have regular hot meals, due to my health conditions.”
What were your first impressions of a FoodCycle meal?
“We went to FoodCycle one week when I was able to get into the car and I was overcome by how friendly the volunteers were. I had been very nervous before we arrived, but since then, I have slowly got to know other guests from all different backgrounds. I had also been concerned that I was a ‘difficult customer’ due to me being vegetarian and was so relieved to find that only vegetarian food is served. I can’t attend every week, due to my poor mobility and health conditions, but I truly look forward to being able to attend either of the two Projects in Liverpool as often as I can. Being able to sit in a warm and very friendly environment, whilst having hot drinks and amazing food is wonderful.”
What are your favourite FoodCycle meals?
“It’s hard to imagine that this food would once have ended up in landfill. My favourite starter is definitely the tasty fresh vegetable or vegetable and lentil soup. I’ve had delicious casseroles with fresh, delicious mashed potato with a side of fresh veg or a pasta dish and the pudding is most often fresh fruit based. ”
How is the current cost of living crisis affecting you and does FoodCycle help?
“I have had an ongoing dispute with my energy provider charging me for two meters and adding a previous tenants debt to my account. This meant I was scared to even use minimal amount of heat and light before the cost-of-living crisis. Now, with the bills escalating for energy and food, it’s severely impacted my physical and mental health. When I come to FoodCycle, it’s always service with a smile. The charity and the volunteers make such a difference to anyone struggling, whether through food or energy poverty, or just loneliness. Any leftovers are always boxed up for anyone wishing to take some home. Last Christmas, we were treated to an amazing Christmas lunch and received a card and gift. It’s truly overwhelming.”
What would you say to someone visiting a FoodCycle meal for the first time?
“For anyone wishing to attend for the first time, I would say please don’t worry, just turn up. Your life will be made all the better for it!”
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