Rupa Huq visits Acton charity's new home

  Posted: 10.06.21 at 12:36 by Dimitris Kouimtsidis

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ACTON based food surplus charity, City Harvest, have been celebrating their seven-year anniversary and recent award of OBE to co-founder, Laura Winningham, with a move into a massively expanded premises off Acton Vale and a refresh of personnel in their top team.

The charity welcomed Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq for Volunteers' Week to the new 13,000 square foot operation, up from the 3,000 that they occupied before Christmas.

New CEO, David Carter, is newest member of the 50 staff strong team and is an ex army man who lives near Acton Town, while Laura’s role has changed to that of Head of Strategic Partnerships.

Andrew McLeay meanwhile has also come on board as Community Impact Manager.

He will be familiar to many in Ealing for being the lynchpin of Ealing Soup Kitchen for many years previously.

City Harvest’s distinctive fleet of vans collect surplus food from firms and redistribute to many charities providing life-saving meals to people in need and have so far delivered over 20 million meals via more than 340 charities.

COVID-19 has meant that their services have been more in demand than ever.

Laura, a New Yorker by origin and OBE since the last Queen’s Birthday Honours, explained that the coronavirus lockdowns have created a dramatic rise in food poverty across London.

City Harvest redistributes healthy surplus food to many charities, providing life-saving meals to people in need. Image Credit: Rupa Huq

As well as those who have lost employment, the necessary closure of community centres which would normally provide meals and a place to socialise has led to many people becoming isolated and lonely.

For some, collecting food parcels has been their only source of contact with the outside world as well as providing life-saving

Laura said: “Need is growing and we expect this to remain a problem, sadly, for the foreseeable future.

"Unlocking more surplus food from the supply chain is key to our being able to meet this need."

The team explained how City Harvest are always searching for new food sources and in addition to grocers, restaurants and manufacturers, they have recently started working directly with farmers relieving them of produce which would otherwise go to waste.

Alas the waiting list of charities needing their services means that at present demand outstrips supply.

City Harvest's team of almost 2,500 volunteers have been essential to its success. Image Credit: Rupa Huq

David Carter said: “Engaging more local businesses which
have large quantities of unused food is one of our short term goals.”

City Harvest would very much like to hear from any business able to donate foodstuffs, ingredients or ready meals - they will arrange collection making it really easy to help out.

The charity’s dedicated team of volunteers, many of whom have become permanent staff members, have been essential to the success of the business.

Rupa Huq said: “It is shocking that there are hungry people missing meals in one of the wealthiest cities in the world in the
21st century.

"The volunteers at City Harvest bring fantastic energy and they do Acton and indeed the whole of London proud for the incredibly important service they provide”.

More information can be found HERE or by emailing Andrew McLeay at [email protected]

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