Sheffield organisation that saves food and feeds thousands needs a new home fast

A food provider for thousands of people in Sheffield has seven weeks to find a new home.

By David Walsh
Thursday, 1st April 2021, 4:52 pm

Food Works must leave its Wybourn warehouse by May 22 and needs a new base to continue operations that have been a lifeline during the pandemic.

Over the past year, the social enterprise 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.

Its team of 300 volunteers has also helped cook and distribute thousands of meals to 11 hubs across the city.

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Volunteers at the Food Works warehouse in Wybourn.

Rene Meijer, CEO of Food Works, said it was Sheffield’s leading force in the fight against food waste and they were appealing for urgent help to continue their vital work.

He said: “The past year has been extraordinary. Over the pandemic we have worked with so many people and organisations in the city to provide food to anyone who needed it in this difficult time and we haven’t stopped for one day.

“But to continue doing this, we are now going to need some help ourselves. We have a great team and partners, but without a distribution hub where we can store, organise and distribute all this food, none of that will matter.”

The organisation is looking for about 5,000 sq ft of storage and distribution space with loading and unloading for vans and lorries, possibly with an office space and trading counter to host its market.

The social enterprise says it must leave by May 22.

Mr Meijer added: “It could be another warehouse or suitable retail or hospitality spaces. In fact, an onsite kitchen could be an amazing opportunity to upcycle a lot more of the challenging food we get in every day.

"Food Works is accessed by hundreds of people from across the region every week, so location and accessibility are important. Good access via public transportation and the ability to park nearby would really help.

“Ideally we would find a fantastic new ‘forever home’ to move to immediately, but the time for that is very short. So we also need to consider more temporary solutions.

“The most important thing is that we can continue to prevent food going to waste and keep people fed.”

Volunteer with meals.

If you can help, email [email protected]

Food counter at the Food Works.

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.

Crate distribution at the Food Works.
Rene Meijer, CEO of Food Works. Picture: Chris Etchells