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Social business’ food charity wins National Recycling Award

The team behind a unique organisation’s food charity has won a prestigious National Recycling Award.

Staff and volunteers at Recycling Lives’ Food Redistribution Centre have been named Team of the Year.

The food charity works to tackle food poverty, support charitable groups and reduce food waste. It is one of a number of charitable activities which Recycling Lives uses its commercial recycling waste management operations to directly support and sustain, alongside offender rehabilitation and a residential facility for the homeless.

The Centre’s team was recognised for its commitment to supporting charitable organisations, such as homeless shelters, breakfast clubs and hospices, as well as its diversity and the equality of opportunity it offers.

Led by one full-time and two part-time employees, it offers work placements and volunteer opportunities to people from all walks of life, including ex-offenders and the homeless via Recycling Lives’ other charitable activities, and professionals wanting to share their skills. Each of its paid staff and dozens of former volunteers have moved into full-time positions with Recycling Lives or its partners following volunteering there.

The team was up against stiff competition, in one of the most subscribed categories, including five council waste teams, two universities and Keep Britain Tidy, at the awards ceremony held at London’s Park Lane Hilton Hotel.

Chairman of trustees for Recycling Lives’ charity, Jonathan Taylor, said: “We are delighted to have won this award – it is well deserved by our outstanding team who go above and beyond to support charitable organisations, create opportunities and nurture others.”

The Centre is the Lancashire and Cumbria arm of national charity FareShare, run by Recycling Lives. It supports its Community Food Members (CFMs) to work with vulnerable and disadvantaged communities by providing them with quality food; surplus stock from food suppliers that would otherwise have gone to landfill. It tackles the dual issues of food poverty and food waste.

Since its launch in October 2015 the Centre has redistributed more than 950,000 meals, distributing 13,000 meals to feed 5,000 people a week via its network of nearly 100 Community Food Members (CFMs).

Neil Flanagan, head of charity for Recycling Lives, said: “This award shows the fantastic spirit of teamwork between employees, volunteers and CFMs. The feedback we often get from groups who use the service is that it’s about more than just the food. The goods supplied bring people together in the spirit of community and co-operation, and enable organisation’s scarce resources which would have been used on food to be invested elsewhere.”