MP Meg Hillier visits launch of new Food Cycle hub

Foodbank. Pic: Darius Norvilas

Foodbank. Pic: Darius Norvilas

A charity serving hot meals has opened a new hub on Ainsworth Street, with the help of the Council and a supermarket’s donations.

The new FoodCycle hub collects donated surplus food from Sainsbury’s supermarkets and local independent retailers. The food is prepared by a staff of volunteers, offering around 40 lunches a week for those at risk of food poverty.

Volunteers at the launch served a three-course meal to those attending which included MP Meg Hillier and Jennette Arnold AM.

Hillier said: “Hackney may be achingly cool and gastronomic but there are also those who are achingly poor and hugely isolated. FoodCycle gives people a good warm meal but perhaps more importantly it brings people together from all parts of the community.”

FoodCycle now has 20 volunteer led projects across the UK and works in partnership with Outward, a charity that supports vulnerable people across London.

Carly Attridge, Deputy Volunteering Manager at Outward said Hackney is in the top 15 boroughs with the lowest paid residents, as well as the top two boroughs with the most homeless residents.

“Hackney is badly in need of an initiative like FoodCycle to help tackle food poverty in the borough” Attridge said.

Based at the New Kingshold Community Centre, the charity will continue to serve healthy meals every Thursday. FoodCycle won the Climate Week Award for “Best Community Initiative” last year, and has served over 118,000 meals in the past five years.

Councillor Jonathan McShane, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture said: “I am delighted that Hackney Council is supporting this worthwhile initiative to help reduce social isolation and food poverty. Our community centres are going from strength to strength and the FoodCycle scheme is one of a number of free services and activities provided at the New Kingshold Community Centre.”

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