Food saved from landfill feeds 465 people

Food saved from landfill feeds 465 people

A food distribution project launched two months ago has prevented 5.5 tonnes of food from going to waste.

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Newtown Food Surplus in Powys started in October and has already helped feed 465 people.

Now the volunteers who run the project hope to expand it in 2022 with the help of a lottery grant.

In December, organisers heard it had been approved for 100,000 funding which will enable it to employ staff, rather than rely on volunteers.

Vicky Rowe, who started the initiative after working on a similar scheme in Aberystwyth, said the lottery funding will make a huge difference,

"It's a lot of hours running this sort of project so we do need some paid members of staff - volunteer coordinators and a chef," she said.

"A lot of food that comes in late at night is 'use by' and we need to cook it, and get it into the freezers.

"But we will [also] need to expand into larger premises of some description. There's a chiller [that] we want to get that up and running. That will be a game changer for us because a lot of the fresh produce can be stored in there."

Volunteers go to supermarkets in Newtown and Welshpool at closing time to pick up surplus food that is close to the "use by" or "best before" dates.

One of the volunteers, Simon Longley, said after one visit: "We've got lots of bread but we've also got doughnuts, spring onions, a whole tray full of salad tomatoes and strawberries: anything the supermarkets can't sell any more because it's reached the 'best by' date or it's reached the 'use by' date.

"It's a legal issue for 'use by' - you cannot sell something that's reached its use by date. 'Best by' is only a recommendation - you judge it by looking at it and checking it.

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