Move to city centre for food rescue charity after 20 successful months

UKHarvest November 2018
UKHarvest November 2018

After a successful first year and a half, a charity devoted to nourishing our nation is moving to central Chichester.

UKHarvest’s goal is to eliminate hunger and food waste through education and the redistribution of quality surplus food and to provide a replicable framework for food rescue.

Since its March 2017 launch, it has delivered over 248,641 meals to more than 75 charitable causes across the South Coast.

The charity is moving to 3a Market Road, Chichester not only to increase capacity to divert more surplus from landfill, but also to reach and support over 100 charities with good food by 2019.

Director of operations Brogan Rehill said: “With support from Chichester District Council and our supporter network, the charity is finally able to grow its own roots in a new home.”

The space will be used as a functioning depot for food operations, as well as to deliver a democratic social space, which the communities it supports can come to, to meet, engage and learn.

Brogan said: “This will also be a supporter hub for our hugely valued volunteers.”

The premises include food stores for pantry items, as well as a walk-in chiller and an open-plan area for meetings and educational sessions.

Brogan said the move is driven by expansion: “2018 has seen the introduction of education programmes, as well as the establishment of ‘surplus supper” community meals. The charity has delivered over 380 vegan-friendly meals through these suppers to communities in West Sussex, including Selsey and Arundel.”

Feedback from attendeees has been positive: “UKHarvest are doing an incredible job of putting unwanted leftover to good use and create a fun, inviting atmosphere.”

Another attendee said: “I had no idea I could enjoy such a delicious meal without any meat.”

UKHarvest chooses to cook vegan food as ‘the most sustainable way to eat’.

The charity also believes education is the answer: “We use food as a medium to change behaviours, to encourage inter-generational and/or cultural integration and to prevent social isolation, while teaching valuable life skills in the kitchen.”

It therefore delivers educational workshops to those supported in schools, people in supported accommodation such as Stonepillow, care leavers and other vulnerable community members, such as family support services in central Chichester.

‘We need community help’

In addition to food rescue, nutritional education and awareness about food waste, food rescue, food security and sustainability are central to the vision of UKHarvest, a not-for-profit perishable food rescue operation which covers Chichester and Arun districts.

With this in mind, the organisation has worked on projects across the area.

These include a partnership with food technology students at The Regis School, where students worked to ‘save the surplus’ and produce a meal made entirely from food that would otherwise would have been wasted.

Nicole Bergmann, a Year 11 student at the school, said: “It was a really good experience as we got to see and learn about the amount of food that is thrown away and wasted every day.

“We feel more knowledgeable about the types of food we can make from things that we may have been prepared to throw away. “Working with a chef and to a specific time-frame for serving the food was a great experience, as it felt like we were in a real working kitchen.”

Among other projects, UKHarvest provides food suitable for the needs of clients of the Bognor Housing Trust.

A spokesperson said: “The food donations support clients who are single homeless people living in temporary accommodation, who often find themselves with no money, and therefore the food provides much-needed provisions. The vegetables help people to try things they may never have tried before.”

The charity is now asking the community for support for its move to central Chichester, whether practical, voluntary or corporate.

Director of operations Brogan Rehill said: “We would like to generate some local community support to help make our very first home as welcoming as possible.

“The more support we have, the less of an impact the move will have on our operations to minimise the adjustments to the daily runs to deliver provisions to charities reliant on our donations.”

Brogan said the food rescue operation is looking for support from corporates, businesses, community groups and individuals to help set up the ‘UKHarvest family’s first home’ at 3a Market Road, Chichester.

To find out more, see www.ukharvest.org.uk.