Above: Lizzie, Leah, Angela and Lily from Rose Hill Junior Youth Club (l-r).
When Community Worker Fran Gardner heard that children at Rose Hill Junior Youth Club were missing meals, she knew something had to be done. Many families in the local area were on low incomes and struggling to make ends meet.
So in September 2014 Fran teamed up with FareShare. Since then FareShare Thames Valley has delivered food, which would have otherwise gone to waste, to Rose Hill every Wednesday. Fran and her team turn it into home cooked meals for 100 energetic children. From vegetable pasta cooked from scratch, to omelettes, cheese, salads and fresh fruit, the meals the Youth Club make from surplus food are a vital source of energy and nutrition for the children.
The unpredictable nature of food surplus means that Rose Hill sometimes find themselves with unusual food. Fran explains “FareShare is an opportunity for the kids to try things they haven’t tried before, like passion fruit. It doesn’t look appetising but we tempted them with tiny spoonfuls and now they love them!”
Leah and Lily from the Junior Youth Club volunteered for FareShare at last July’s Neighbourhood Food Collection, collecting food for others in need in their area. Fran says “The kids felt they were a valuable part of the community. They were able to talk to Tesco shoppers and explain what FareShare means to them.” You can sign up to volunteer at this December’s event
We provide the ingredients for Rose Hill to make a difference to the lives of young people. Leah, 12, has always struggled at school but loves to cook. When the delivery from FareShare arrives she jumps in sorting and preparing food. Fran explains the importance of this “When you struggle academically, if you can find just one thing where you can excel, it raises your confidence. Leah cooks and it gives her such a lift. She feels better about herself. To see that change is amazing.”
“It’s interesting how food surplus can reach out in many different ways. It’s like throwing a pebble in a pond and it ripples out.”