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LiveWest's journey to tackling food waste

Category: community, Corporate Social Responsibility, LiveWest, environmental, Environmental Sustainability, Environmentally friendly, Environmental protection, environmental goals, environment culture

Corporate Social Responsibility

We are playing a key role in tackling food waste after piloting a new community project designed to support its residents at a time of spiraling costs.

LiveWest has been taking part in some community outreach work at car parks across Callington, Harrowbarrow, St Ann’s Chapel, Gunnislake and Calstock and offering free food donations with the aim to reduce food waste and stop it unnecessarily going to landfill.

It is all part of supporting the Tamar Valley Community Food (TVCF) organisation which has opened a new community fridge outside Coop in Drakewalls - open seven-days a week - as part of a project that collects surplus food and gives it away for free. 

Mai Evans, Community Connector at LiveWest, said: “It's been an exhausting but satisfying few months running a mobile community larder which was great for promoting the ethos and for volunteer-recruitment and planning the permanent fridge. 

 

“I've managed to recruit some great volunteers who are on rotas as “Fridge-checkers” and “Picker-uppers” and it's been incredibly busy since our soft-launch in April with masses of fruit, veg, tinned food, eggs etc being gratefully claimed.

“The unique location is directly behind the local Coop shop which is a fuel station and the best possible place in the valley for this facility. 

“Although Coop have nationally funded hundreds of Community Fridges through their partnership with Hubbub, we believe it's a first for Coop to actually have a fridge on site. Store Manager Barbara Worth has been really supportive as have the rest of the staff there.”

The fridge unit itself was funded by LiveWest and partners Jewson, and PSC provided the wooden housing.

Barbara Worth, Store Manager at Coop Drakewalls, said: “The community fridge has been brilliant in tackling food waste at the Coop Drakewalls. Our local pre-school our food share partner also benefit from the initiative. 

“Nationally, Coop`s goal is for all stores to create food share partners. End of day food retail waste is now benefiting local communities. With the cost of living rising uncontrollably, this initiative allows local businesses to work with the community in providing a solution.”

Cornwall Gleaning Network has recruited local farmers and volunteers and so has regularly supplied Tamar Valley Community Fridge with fresh vegetables (eg cauliflowers, leeks, purple-sprouting broccoli). These crops have been harvested by volunteers as they were either not financially viable or have been rejected by the supply chain due to size.

Hannah, a LiveWest resident and community fridge volunteer, said: “It is amazing how one community can pull together and make a difference, just glad I could give back into my community. Thanks so much to Mai for getting me involved.”

With nearly 200 people a week benefitting from the food waste project currently, there is the need for more volunteers to help co-ordinate donations. Those interested in getting involved in the project can contact Mai Evans Community Connector at LiveWest on [email protected] or [email protected] 

Mai added: “We generally receive a wide range of items, our donations are varied but the hope is that people will take advantage of the free food and find new ways of using ingredients and experimenting with different seasonal vegetables. 

“We are not a food bank but we are working closely with Callington Food Bank. Our aim is to reduce unnecessary food waste whilst supporting people whose incomes are stretched.”

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