Sheffield food provider hails 'fantastic' help to beat deadline to find new home

A Sheffield organisation that saves food and feeds thousands has hailed the ‘amazing’ support that helped it find a new home fast.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 6:48 am

Food Works moved to new premises in Handsworth three days before a deadline to leave its warehouse in Wybourn.

Staff and volunteers will finish early on Wednesday and shift the last of the equipment ahead of reopening at normal time on Thursday.

Jo Hercberg, founder and communications and partnerships director, praised a ‘fantastic’ citywide effort that ensured there would be no downtime, including help from Speights removal company, Lupton Fawcett solicitors, who sorted a legal agreement in weeks that would normally take months, and The Star for publicising their plight.

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Food Works' new home in Handsworth. Jo Hercberg and Ash Cooke. Picture: Chris Etchells

She added: “It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the community. We found a venue quite early on but in the end we’ve managed it with a few days to spare. We could have been out on our ear, but the help we’ve had has been absolutely fantastic.”

The social enterprise is now at Business Park, Unit 12-14 Portland, 130 Richmond Park Rd, Sheffield S13 8HS.

Over the past year, it has redistributed almost 500 tonnes of food that was going to waste and provided 40,000 boxes of groceries via markets in Wybourn and Sharrow.

In April, it was given seven weeks to find a new home, sparking a hunt for premises with storage and distribution space, loading for vans and lorries, offices and a trading counter.

Jo Hercberg at Food Works new home on Richmond Park Rd. Picture: Chris Etchells

The not-for-profit organisation is primarily funded by people who make a donation for food, which is collected from supermarkets and wholesalers. It works with 11 partner hubs across Sheffield.

Rene Meijer, chief executive, said customers were from all backgrounds.

He added: “We do not work with referrals or criteria. We try and make our food as accessible as we can and feed anyone who comes through our doors.

“This does mean that a lot of people that have limited financial means access our food. But we do not have clients, we only have customers and we just ask that each one contributes according to their means, whatever they may be.

Ash Cooke at Food Works new home. Picture: Chris Etchells

“The aim is to create an offer that makes people feel they are treated with respect and that doesn't put them outside of 'regular' society to grovel for handouts.”

Jo Hercberg at Food Works new home. Picture: Chris Etchells

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.