Recycling Lives marks first year delivering meals to Cumbria

Recycling Lives has delivered more than 50,000 meals to communities in Cumbria its first year.

October marks its first anniversary of delivering meals to charities and community groups in the west of the county – providing enough food to serve 54,405 meals.

It opened a Local Collection Point (LCP) in Cleator Moor in October 2017, making weekly deliveries from its Food Redistribution Centre in Lancashire.

Run in partnership with national food charity FareShare, the Centre redistributes surplus food from suppliers and supermarkets which would otherwise have gone to landfill.

Over the past year the LCP has helped 15 charitable organisations in West Cumbria, including schools, homeless hostels and children’s centres. It also delivers food to a second LCP in Rheged, Penrith, and is this month opening its third in Carlisle, supporting 39 groups across Cumbria along with a further 132 in Lancashire.

Jeff Green, Recycling Lives’ Food Redistribution Centre manager, added: “Our first LCP has been a huge success, allowing us to reach more people than ever before.”

South Workington Youth Partnership (SWYP) is one of the organisations that benefits from the support. The organisation runs weekly youth groups, after school clubs and support groups for disabled adults in Workington, Great Clifton and Maryport. It has received enough food to make 3,076 meals.

Manager and Development Officer Angela Good said: “We work with adults with disabilities, supporting them to learn life skills as they help us to deliver food to families. They’re there when the food is picked up, so they learn how to store it correctly, use maths to divide it up into bags, and help deliver it to families in need.”

Mirehouse Residents Association has received enough food to make 5,861 meals. The organisation, based on Mirehouse Estate in Whitehaven, puts on twice-weekly lunch clubs for elderly residents and youth club sessions in the evenings.

Community Involvement Co-ordinator Keith Cartner said: “The food parcels go to the ladies who attend the lunch clubs, parents bringing their children to the youth clubs, and families on the estate who we know need it. The food has helped us to stretch things much further – we’ve been able to grow the number of people we’re working with by about 40%.”

Recycling Lives has been supported by Cumbria County Council to establish the Cleator Moor presence. The local authority provided the LCP location, arranging information events for communities, and providing grant support to subsidise membership costs for CFMs and transport costs.

Councillor Deborah Earl, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Local Communities, said: “I am delighted the council is able to support this fantastic project in Copeland, providing a valuable service to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.”

The opening of the LCP followed the expansion of Recycling Lives’ commercial activities, supporting and sustaining three charitable programmes, including the food redistribution. The business invested £250,000 in opening a site in Workington in summer 2017, after winning a major contract with Sellafield Ltd.