East of England Co-op’s community fund backs food waste reduction project

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A donation from the recently created East of England Co-op Community Cares Fund has helped a food waste reduction project to pay for a cold store, helping it to continue redistributing surplus food to the local community.

The Teapot Project, a volunteer-run group based in Woodbridge, take unwanted food from restaurants and cafes and pass it back out to families in need in Suffolk. The project focuses on reducing waste by keeping good food from landfill, redistributing it to local people who may otherwise be forced to go without.

The £1,600 donation from the East of England Co-op Community Cares Fund has helped The Teapot Project to build a vital cold store, to keep the food they collect in good, safe condition. The volunteers behind the project estimated the cold store would cost just over £4,500 to complete. With £3,000 raised via a crowdfunding drive, the team needed a final push to make their ambition a reality.

Niall O’Keeffe, Joint Chief Executive for the East of England Co-op said;

“When we heard The Teapot Project were so close to their fundraising target, we were delighted to be able to donate the final amount they needed to build their cold store. The project has been an important lifeline for many local people during the recent Coronavirus crisis and the team’s efforts in supporting their community should be commended. In redistributing food that would otherwise go to landfill, The Teapot Project are taking a notable stand against waste too.”

Along with the donation, the East of England Co-op’s Community Engagement team spent time with the Teapot Project chefs, preparing tasty ready meals using surplus food, as well as joined the Teapot Project delivery drivers to help deliver food to families in need.

Mischa Pearson from The Teapot Project added;

“The donation from the East of England Co-op gave our project a real boost and helped to get us over the fundraising finish line. The Teapot Project forged really useful links with restaurants and cafes during the height of the Coronavirus crisis. Today, we’re able to build on these relationships, taking unwanted but perfectly good food and storing it safely in our new cold store, before redistributing it to local families in the Woodbridge area and beyond. We’ve provided thousands of lunches and dinners this way. Our new cold store will help us to continue our work supporting families in need across the county.”