Helping young people in Ipswich with Community Food Connection

Through the Community Food Connection scheme, Tesco works closely with FareShare to distribute surplus food from stores to community groups and local charities every day – including YMCA Trinity in Ipswich, which uses donations from its local Tesco store to provide healthy hot meals to its residents.

The charity provides vulnerable young people with supported housing, training and education opportunities, helping to improve their employability and independent living skills. They receive weekly donations of baked goods, chilled items, fruit and vegetables through Community Food Connection, which as well as making meals for residents and youth groups, also enable them to set up cookery lessons.

YMCA Trinity also runs a government-funded childcare initiative, with 15 families currently benefitting from the programme. Surplus food is used to make meals for the children, and anything leftover is packaged into food parcels to be shared with parents that need a little extra help.

Vicky Cairney, programme director at YMCA Trinity Group, says:

“Some of our residents are in incredibly difficult circumstances, and the food donations from Tesco not only ensure that they have access to healthy hot meals, but also helps to alleviate feelings of social isolation by providing a community atmosphere where they can enjoy food. 

"Some of the parents of the children that visit our youth drop-in have been through very difficult times, and us being able to provide their child with a hot meal can relieve a huge amount of pressure from them.

“Thanks to Tesco, not only can we help prevent perfectly good food from going to waste, but we’re also able to significantly reduce our costs. Without the donated food, we’d have to purchase the items ourselves, which would leave us with significantly less budget to use on supporting our young people.”

So far Tesco has donated 36 million meals to more than 7,000 local charities and community groups, along with launching Tesco Community Cookery School with Jamie Oliver, to support community cooks in making the most of the surplus donations they receive. Learn more about Community Food Connection and how Tesco works to reduce food waste in their operations. 

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