Recycling Lives food charity celebrates its volunteers

An award-winning charity is celebrating its volunteers this National Volunteers’ Week.

Recycling Lives’ Food Redistribution Centre is shining the spotlight and sharing success stories as part of the national celebration.

The Centre – the Lancashire and Cumbria arm of food charity FareShare – diverts fresh food from landfill by redistributing surplus from supermarkets to charitable organisations. It is run by a team of dedicated staff supported by dozens of volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds.

Working with Recycling Lives other charitable programmes, which rehabilitate ex-offenders and support the homeless and long-term unemployed, the Centre provides work experience, training and personal support to its volunteers, as well as opportunities for experienced professionals to share their skills.

Its team was last year named Team of the Year in the National Recycling Awards – recognising its diversity and impact in delivering meals to more than 125 community groups and charities across Lancashire and Cumbria from its Preston base. The goods delivered allows groups to expand their offer and services for communities, as they save thousands of pounds annually on their food bills and are able to feed vulnerable or disadvantaged groups.

Centre Manager Jeff Green said: “Our volunteers are at the core of everything we do. They support our operations on every level – packing food, working the warehouse and managing the booking system – in return we support them to achieve their goals. We really couldn’t do it without them and they should be very proud of everything they have achieved.”

Tremaine volunteered at the Centre while on day release from prison, developing skills and expertise to gain full-time work at Recycling Lives as an assistant manager. He said: “If I never worked at the Centre I wouldn’t have the job I have now – they help you to work and encourage you to do the job well.”

Vivienne volunteered after she was made redundant, having worked as a youth worker for 25 years, helping her land a paid job at the Centre. She said: “Giving back when you have nothing, gives you something. Now to be paid for something that I love to do is an absolute joy.”

Jason volunteered at the Centre after spending 10 years in and out of prison. He was supported to undertake a driving qualification which allowed him to be employed as a driver for the Centre. He said: “Recycling Lives has given me the chance to get back into work and do something I really want to be doing.”

Recycling Lives is a unique organisation, uses its recycling and waste management operations to support and sustain charitable activities, including the Food Redistribution Centre, run in partnership with FareShare, as well as an offender rehabilitation programme and a residential charity for the homeless.

Volunteer week takes place 1-7 June 2018, celebrating the contribution of the 23 million people who volunteer in their communities across the UK.

This year FareShare is working with Asda, which is leading a store level volunteer drive as part of its newly launched Asda Fight Hunger Create Change programme. Asda customers are being encouraged to volunteer and ‘Share Their Time’ by visiting www.asda.com/fight-hunger

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