• Volunteers urgently needed to help FoodCycle feed people across Newcastle and in the Felling area of Gateshead
• More than 68% of FoodCycle guests worry that they can’t afford to live and rely on FoodCycle’s weekly meals
• Since launching Cook and Collect in Newcastle, FoodCycle volunteers have saved nearly 2 tonnes of surplus food, which is the equivalent to 4,471 meals*

FoodCycle, the charity that fights food poverty and loneliness is in urgent need of volunteers in Felling, Gateshead and Newcastle. As an essential service, FoodCycle continues to be a lifeline to the community during the current UK lockdown.

Due to isolating or shielding from the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteer numbers in the North East of England have dropped significantly. Without volunteers, Foodcycle cannot provide a vital service to the community who have come to rely on their weekly meals and food provision.

Who can volunteer?

Foodcycle volunteer roles in Gateshead Felling and Newcastle are open to anyone who has some time to spare. Current roles include food collection; plus cooking or hosting at ‘Cook and Collect’ projects – a food takeaway service for members of the community.

North East projects are also on the lookout for Project Leaders to join the team. Tasked with ensuring the smooth running of their Foodcycle Project, leaders can focus on hosting, cooking or working with local companies and volunteers to source and collect surplus food.

Unable to bring people together through community meals for much of 2020 due to Government restrictions, Foodcycle also launched Check-in and Chat this year. This service, where volunteers call guests for a weekly natter to help combat social isolation, is also looking for new recruits.

Who can’t volunteer?

Those who are shielding, have been told to isolate or classed as clinically vulnerable should not volunteer at our meals (but can take part in the Check-in and Chat service). Those showing any symptoms, have tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, should not volunteer at this time.

To help stop the spread and to keep FoodCycle guests and volunteers safe, FoodCycle has introduced a number of new policies and procedures such as compulsory wearing of face coverings, hand sanitising stations, socially distanced queues and collecting data in line with track and trace.

Harry Barnham, North East Regional Manager at FoodCycle says: “Being a part of FoodCycle gives our volunteers a real sense of purpose in these unusual times. People often sign up to give something back but end up staying because of how much they gain from it. Not only does it make such a huge difference to the people that receive the food but leads to our volunteers making friends and feeling part of the community. We really do need more volunteers to ensure that we can keep this vital service running.”

A FoodCycle Guest says: “It makes me very happy that Foodcycle is still looking out for people and caring for the community during this time. Every week is like Christmas as I never know what new ingredient or new food I’ll get to try and I also feel its been prepared and made with love.”

Foodcycle in Gateshead and Newcastle is currently operating projects at the following locations:

Foodcycle Monkchester Road, Walker
Monkchester Community Centre in Newcastle Upon Tyne for Cook and Collect every Wednesday from 12.30pm–1.30pm

FoodCycle Byker
Byker Community Centre in Newcastle Upon Tyne for Cook and Collect every Thursday from 7pm–8pm

FoodCycle Westgate
Westgate Baptist Church in Newcastle Upon Tyne for Cook and Collect every Thursday from 7pm–8pm

New project – FoodCycle Felling
Felling Community Centre in Gateshead Felling will start Cook and Collect on 20th November 12.30pm-1.30pm

*equivalent meals, based on the assumption of an average meal weighing 420g (FSA 2008)

For more information on FoodCycle projects and to sign up to volunteer please visit http://www.foodcycle.org.uk/





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