Blackpools brilliant food bank partnerships found the recipe for success after winning a coveted community award.
And with the scale of avoidable waste increasingly in the public consciousness, its been championed for making a positive impact in the resort.
The food bank ensures surplus food is passed on to local disadvantaged people instead.
As members of the Lancashire Community Recycling Network, the food bank and over 40 others like it embody a community response to tackling poverty across our region by redirecting items that would otherwise be thrown away.
And at Lancashire CRNs eighth annual awards ceremony - the Red Rose Resource Awards - it was one of three Network members recognised for making the biggest impacts in Lancashire over the past year - and suitably rewarded with private sector cash investment.
The event was opened by LCCs Lead Member for Waste Management, County Councillor Clare Pritchard, who praised Lancashire CRNs member organisations for their innovation, longevity and the enduring social, economic and environmental impacts of their work.
She added: We're very fortunate to have so many excellent groups dedicated to repurposing items that would otherwise become waste to help others in our communities.
"Many of them are now long-established, which is testament to their original thinking and determination in overcoming the obstacles that confront any organisation during its early development, and growing their capacity over the years to make a bigger and bigger impact.
"They make a huge contribution, not just in the field of waste and recycling, but in helping vulnerable people and supporting our economy, whether through their daily work in repairing and reselling items or by creating opportunities for disadvantaged people."
Commented Lancashire CRNs Coordinator Dawn Welham: The three awards were won by very diverse organisations based in Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen respectively.
This shows how diverse the community waste management sector in our region is, and its something we are very proud of as a Network.
On behalf of the Network I want to thank our three; representatives of the waste and recycling industry for their commitment to the work of our members. Its great to have the private sector recognizing the impact that the community sector is having across Lancashire, making sure anything from furniture to food to bicycles is made available to people on low incomes instead of being disposed of.
The food bank won the Best Partnership - if you have been watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls new BBC One series Hughs War on Waste you will have seen some of the staggering scale of waste in the UK while at the same time a staggering 13 million people in this country are struggling to afford to eat, with one third of food in the UK is unnecessarily wasted.
But the Blackpool Food Partnership is leading a localised fight against food waste, making sure surplus edible food from a number of local sources is provided to disadvantaged people across the Authority; and they has now been recognised with the award and a cash investment of 500.
Its a group of 38 organisations that have been working together since October 2013 with the aim of relieving poverty and hardship in Blackpool, aiming to ensure that no individual or family goes without food. The partnership has gone from strength to strength, and during 2014 they scaled up from distributing 5,000 worth of food to 54,670.
Food banks are a service of last resort for people living in poverty. UK food prices have increased by 43.5 per cent in the eight years to July 2013 and food expenditure as a proportion of total household expenditure has continued to rise.
In response, the partnership has an increasing emphasis on providing additional support to help people in crisis escape a cycle of deprivation. In partnership with Blackpools Discretionary Support Team, the Blackpool Food Partnership have supported over 4000 people to address underlying issues behind their current crisis, by providing advice and referrals to appropriate services, such as welfare, benefit and debt advice, or accessing support through job clubs or training opportunities.
Coordinator Nikki Hart said: By coordinating the access, storage, processing and distribution, we have circulated surplus food valued at almost 55,000 to people in need rather than it being wasted. We are absolutely delighted to have won the Best Partnership award and our cash prize will help us purchase freezers to help us manage fresh food. Our partners could be batch cooking and serving up soup over the winter with perfect vegetables otherwise destined for the bin!
We would like to thank our sponsors for their kind support and all of our partners who have worked so hard to help Blackpools most disadvantaged residents.
Jon Russell from category sponsor Recresco said The passion and the dedication of all of the partners represented is wonderful. We are proud to support the Blackpool Food Partnerships work, firstly by helping people out in hard times with food that would be unnecessarily thrown away, and secondly for playing a role in helping people to regain independence.
Recresco: Extreme Recycling is a materials recycling company are the reprocessor for all glass bottles sorted and recovered through Lancashires two waste recovery facilities.
Other award winners were Cycle Roots of Blackburn thats recycled almost 400 bikes and Burnleys Open Door that for the last 16 years has been collecting, checking, storing and redistributing donated furniture, appliances and household goods in Burnley and Pendle.
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