Category Archives: News

FareShare North East provides food for 738,192 meals in the community

Category : News

Changing Lives are proud to run the North East branch of FareShare. In recognition of World Hunger Day, we have released our 2017-18 figures.

Our impact

Last year, FareShare North East:

  • saved 305.83 tonnes of food from waste
  • provided enough food for 738,192 meals
  • supported 129 North East charities and community groups
  • saved the local charity sector £1,019,100
  • provided food for 10,569 people every week

This is an increase across all areas.

Who we help

FareShare North East provide food for meals at community groups and charities such as breakfast clubs for primary school children and lunch groups for the elderly. Manager Ben Lock said:

“Food poverty can happen to anyone, and it can happen quickly. The charities we provide food to support those who have lost their homes, left the Armed Forces and struggled to adjust, escaped violent relationships, fallen into drug or alcohol misuse or simply can no longer cook for themselves. Food is the connector – when it’s joined with the life changing support services provided by our frontline charity members, we know it’s the enabler to help get people back on their feet.”

FareShare UK

FareShare UK has 21 regional centres across the country and receives food from 500 food companies right across the food supply chain, including major retailers like Tesco and Asda, and manufacturers such as Kellogg’s and Nestlé, to redistribute quality food that has become surplus – often long before it reaches a supermarket shelf – because of forecasting errors, seasonal changes or damaged packaging.

Without FareShare food, one in five charities say they would probably or definitely have to close, while 58% say they would have to reduce the amount of food they provide, and one in four would have to cut back other services*.

Can you help?

FareShare North East are currently looking for vital volunteers to help run the service, including volunteer van drivers. If you’re interested, please contact

*Source: NatCen Social Research, Feb 2016. Online survey of 568 charities supported by FareShare UK carried out 17 Apr – 18 May 2015. The report is available at:,-improving-lives-survey-of-fareshare%E2%80%99s-community-food-members

FareShare appeals for volunteers across the country to help feed people in need

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FareShare, the largest food redistribution charity in the UK, is calling on food heroes right across the country to sign up as volunteers to help people in need in their local community. The call out coincides with the NCVO Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June 2018) which celebrates the contribution of the 23 million people who volunteer in their communities across the UK.

FareShare’s volunteering shout out is also being turbo charged this year by retail partner Asda, which is leading a store level volunteer drive as part of its newly launched Asda Fight Hunger Create Change programme. Customers will be greeted by Community Champions in Asda stores promoting all the different ways they can get involved, talking about their own experiences in volunteering and encouraging customers to ‘Share Their Time’ by visiting Here, customers will be able to find out more about the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change programme, watch inspiring videos* of volunteering and how to register interest in volunteering.

Volunteers help FareShare every step of the way, including collecting, sorting and delivering quality surplus food to thousands of frontline charities. Some volunteer a couple times a year, some every day. Regardless of how often they contribute, FareShare volunteers come because they care, and their contribution is essential.

Richard volunteers as a driver’s assistant at FareShare London:

“A week before, I was in a workshop doing a job I couldn’t hack any more but on my first day at FareShare I witnessed firsthand where food went – breakfast clubs, nurseries, rehab centres and homeless shelters. This is real life. This is where the food goes”.

FareShare can offer flexible volunteering hours and a wide range of volunteering and training opportunities, including sorting and stacking food in one of FareShare’s 21 regional centres, delivering orders, working from home to support FareShare’s social media or in an office liaising with charity members.

Bryan Precious, Head of Volunteering, said:

“Without our volunteers, FareShare would not have redistributed surplus food to make 36.7 million meals last year. We wouldn’t help feed 772,000 people every week. We wouldn’t have saved tens of thousands of tons of good food from going to waste.

“Whether you fancy brushing up your computer skills before returning to work, gaining a customer service experience to add to your CV, driving our all-important deliveries to the charities we support every day – volunteering at FareShare has never provided so many opportunities to be part of the solution to food waste and food poverty.

“The work of our volunteers has an obvious benefit to their communities, and in their own words, volunteering opens up all sorts of doors. In many cases, volunteers come for many reasons but they stay because they have fun, learn new skills and make friends.”

A volunteer at FareShare West Midlands, Josephine said:

“Volunteering and working at FareShare has had a very big impact on my life. FareShare has become my family. It’s funny, I think I’ve found my vocation at last!

“I’d never worked in a warehouse before but I went for my Forklift Truck license and passed it. I’m now doing my Level 3 Health and Safety and I’m also now doing a Diploma in Business Studies. FareShare has opened up so many opportunities for me, as well as massively increasing my confidence.”

Bryan said:

“Our volunteers oil and operate the largest machine fighting food waste and hunger in the UK. They may differ as much as the people they are ultimately helping, but they are all dedicated to helping us tackle food poverty and reduce food waste.

“At FareShare, volunteers are priceless. Come and join them.”

No waste here! We Supplied More Than 500,000 Meals Made From Surplus Food To Vulnerable People Last Year

Category : News

FareShare are thrilled to announce that last year, their North East franchise, which is run by Changing Lives, distributed enough surplus food to create more than half-a-million nutritious meals for local people in need.

FareShare North East receives good quality, in-date surplus food from manufacturers, producers and retail suppliers and redistributes it to almost 120 local frontline charities and community groups, including homeless shelters, women’s refuges and breakfast clubs for disadvantaged children. The charities then transform it into nutritious meals.

FareShare North East relies on the surplus food it receives from local suppliers, including All Good Snacks and Tom Walker & Sons.

Ben Lock, General Manager, at FareShare North East, said:

“It’s unbelievable to think we’re redistributing enough food to provide half-a-million healthy nutritious meals It’s an incredible achievement, and it’s all down to our valued volunteers and, of course, our suppliers. It really is a privilege to supply food to charities that make such a difference to people’s lives, and the fact that we’re making sure that good quality food goes to feed hungry people rather than being thrown away makes what we do even more worthwhile.”

One of the charities who benefits from the scheme is Cosy Crow Café in Gateshead. The community café serves home-cooked lunches to 25 older people on Wednesdays and Thursdays every week. Craig Bankhead, Development Manager for Gateshead Older People’s Assembly (GOPA) said:

“FareShare gives us an opportunity to feed people for considerably less. The customers really like the meals we are able to offer.”

With a growing waiting list of charities in need of food, FareShare North East is calling on more food producers, suppliers and catering companies to work with them to redistribute their surplus food. The charity are also looking for more local volunteers to help pack and deliver the food to the charities who need it.


Get involved by contacting Ben Lock: call 0191 278 1895 or email

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FareShare North East charity banquet at Blackfriars changes lives!

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Category : News

Four Changing Lives residents undertook a nine day crash-course in cooking to pull off a four-course meal at esteemed Newcastle restaurant, Blackfriars, for 45 paying guests.

Over the course of nine days, Aaron, Andy, Jamie and Liam were trained on how to prepare an elaborate feast and given skills that would enable them to secure a job in a restaurant in the future.

Liam, 23, originally from Blakelaw, said because of his time spent at Blackfriars he would consider getting a job cooking or serving food.

He added:

“It’s a good experience. I would do this in the future.

It’s challenging because you have to interact with people you haven’t met before, also getting the plates while people are eating and trying not to be in the way.

It’s been really fun. A new life experience for sure.”

The four-course meal was held in Blackfriars’ banquet hall and the menu was crafted using ingredients FareShare, an organisation dedicated to limiting food waste, had in its warehouse,

“I have super inventive chefs here,” Andy Hook, owner of Blackfriars, said.

“We wanted to throw something else in the mix and actually get some people, some volunteers whose lives have been touched by Changing Lives to not only to prepare the food but to serve it.”

The courses included pheasant soup, breaded fish, curry chicken and a chocolatey dessert, which the men prepped, cooked and served under the guidance of Blackfriars chefs.

FareShare NE takes food rejected by supermarkets and donates the items to needy organisations and community groups. They currently support 96 groups in the North East.

The men involved in the banquet said they enjoyed the experience and the skills they picked up on their training.

Among the guests were council members, businesspeople from Barclays and Proctor and Gamble and other notable North East names, all who learned about food poverty and food waste.

In total, the event raised around £4,500 and funds went towards Changing Lives and FareShare.

This article was originally published in The Chronicle. Read the full article here.

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When skipping meals increases the waste

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Category : News

Michael Shields, General Manager FareShare North East
by Michael Shields, General Manager FareShare North East

On Sunday 28th September, 50 or so people attended the FareShare Banquet at the award-winning Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle. Hosted by Blackfriars MD Andy Hook, the event raised £1,000 for the project and helped us increase awareness of food waste and food poverty. The banquet was prepared, cooked and served by clients of Changing Lives and their involvement enabled them to gain new skills and benefit from the experience of working in a restaurant setting. The clients made a huge contribution on the day, really enjoyed it, did it with a big smile and walked out of the door having enhanced their CVs. The win-wins continued as the food used on the day was provided by FareShare North East and originated from food companies that classified it as surplus… or in other words if it wasn’t for FareShare’s intervention it would have ended up in a rubbish skip.

FareShare does this day in day out and redirects surplus food before it goes anywhere near a waste disposal site…. food that has not passed it expiry and is perfectly safe and good to eat. We are not talking about Mrs Jones at 3 Acacia Gardens throwing out half a loaf of bread here ‘n there, rather a Mr Kipling wasting several pallets of apple pies…. commercial food waste.

It’s not surprising that food waste is an emotive issue as the UK Food Industry wastes 3 Million Tonnes of product each year. Or, to put it another way, enough to fill Wembley Stadium twice over. Whether the reason is incorrect forecasting, promotional lines, short coded product or cosmetically damaged packaging the fact is that ‘no good food should be wasted’ – and this is what FareShare seeks to do… to take an environmental problem of food waste and turn it into a social solution – fighting food poverty.

In the North East Region, FareShare redistributes approximately 20 Tonnes per month to 80 Community Projects that support vulnerable people. The projects supplied benefit from cost savings on their food bill and can plough that saving into other services and maintain or extend their food provision to their clients. More win-wins and all good stuff – but the scope for growth is enormous – as is the demand.

There are pockets of this country where 1 in 10 people have faced food poverty… where they have relied on family or friends for food, visited a food bank or worst of all – gone without. This at a time when the vast majority of commercial surplus food is still sent to landfill. So, imagine the difference only another 20 Tonnes of food per month could make… more cost savings to community projects, more disadvantaged mouths fed and reduced CO2 emissions as the food ends up on a plate rather than in a skip.

Merck donation buys chiller van to support food poverty

Category : News

FareShare North East, part of the charity Changing Lives, recently received a generous donation of $50,000 USD from Cramlington based pharmaceutical manufacturer MSD.

The large donation from MSD has enabled FareShare North East to purchase a chiller van which will make it possible for food to travel further distances, helping to reach more people at risk of food poverty in our community.

Michael Shields, General Manager FareShare North East, is extremely grateful to MSD for their kind donation.
He said:
“When we received the van we were able to offer all of our customers the opportunity to receive chilled and frozen foods. Previously, some customers received only dry goods as we did not offer temperature controlled distribution across all of our routes at this time. The van has enabled us to provide food to an additional nine new community projects from across the region. 280 additional disadvantaged people from the community projects benefit from our food deliveries on a weekly basis.”

National charity Changing Lives runs the FareShare North East franchise. Changing Lives provides specialist support for thousands of vulnerable people and their families, every month. FareShare supplies surplus food to hundreds of local charities across the UK. They ensure that good food is not wasted by turning an environmental problem into a solution, helping to feed thousands of vulnerable people every day. In the North East, FareShare received 223 tonnes of food in the last year from the food industry, 85% of which was surplus.

Low Res Packing the van
MSD (known as Merck in the US and Canada), an international healthcare company, is committed to making a difference to the lives of people around the world. Starting at the corporate level, this commitment runs strong through the local communities where MSD operates business and production facilities. The company’s Neighbour of Choice program empowers and enables MSD employees to contribute directly to the well-being of the communities where they live and work.
Martin Inskip, Senior Director of Operations at MSD Cramlington said:

“MSD is delighted to be in a position to support such a wonderful organisation that does so much to help people in need in the North East. It is incomprehensible in this day and age that children and adults are going hungry and my staff and I have taken this charity and their work to our hearts – some of our staff have volunteered to work with FareShare in their own time and my management team have spent a day volunteering with the team at Newburn. It’s humbling to see the work done there and work with the other FareShare volunteers and MSD feel privileged to partner FareShare in this venture and wish them every success.”

Since its inception, the Merck Foundation, through which the Neighbour of Choice grants are managed, has contributed more than $740 million USD to support initiatives that address important societal needs in a manner consistent with MSD’s overall mission to help the world be well.

For more information about FareShare and Changing Lives, please visit: and

Breakfast for Everyone Courtesy of FareShare

Category : News

FareShare North East, part of the charity Changing Lives, recently donated a large collection of food to support a breakfast club at The Dales School in Blyth. The food donation will enable the school children to start the morning with a nutritional breakfast, preparing them for the busy day ahead.

The Dales School was chosen by Cramlington based pharmaceutical manufacturer, MSD, as it is one of their partner schools where an after school science club is organised and delivered by MSD staff and the school is supported throughout the year on various projects by MSD.

National charity Changing Lives runs the FareShare North East franchise. Changing Lives provides specialist support for thousands of vulnerable people and their families, every month. FareShare supplies surplus food to hundreds of local charities across the UK. They ensure that good food is not wasted by turning an environmental problem into a solution, helping to feed thousands of vulnerable people every day. In the North East, FareShare received 223 tonnes of food in the last year from the food industry, 85% of which was surplus.

Barry Densham, Changing Lives, Project Manager for FareShare North East, highlights the importance of supporting people in the local community.

He said:
“FareShare North East has a significant impact with all communities throughout the region who we support with surplus food, not only from an ecological impact by saving perfectly good food that would otherwise go to landfill, but to ensure that those people in food poverty access food through various local organisations. In the North East alone there are over 100,000 children in food poverty so by supporting schools with surplus food we can help provide at least one meal a day for a child. Hopefully this will help to raise concentration levels in school, meaning a greater chance of improved educational results leading to better careers in the future.”

MSD recently provided FareShare North East with a grant of $50,000 USD from the Merck Community Foundation which enabled FareShare to increase the number and type of deliveries to charitable organisations throughout the region. As a thank you to MSD, FareShare offered to donate a FareShare food hamper to a Local Community Project of MSD’s choice, the project of choice being The Dales School.

The Dales is a school for primary age children who have Special Educational Needs. Hugh Steele, Headteacher, The Dales School, talks about the benefits of breakfast for the school children.

He said:
“Breakfast at The Dales School is a really important part of the day. Apart from the obvious benefits of starting the day with a full stomach, ready to face the challenges ahead, it gives our children the chance to socialise with their friends and adults. Children who attend The Dales come from a range of backgrounds. However, they all have Special Educational Needs and, as such, benefit from the opportunity to learn in a secure and therapeutic environment where they can be given time to focus on other important life skills as well as the academic development which must take place.

Mr Steele continued:
“Additional provision and opportunity such as breakfast and behaviour at meal times is additional to The National Curriculum and, consequently, expensive. When organisations such as FareShare and MSD recognise this and offer support, it is extremely welcome and we would like to thank them for their extremely kind donations which allow us to provide benefits that otherwise we could not provide.”

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FareShare North East receives Gold Award following food safety audit

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Category : News

FareShare North East receives Gold Award following food safety audit…  Food safety has always been high on the agenda at FareShare North East and its great that our high standards have been formally recognised by the largest food safety auditor on the planet! NSF International conducted the audit and FareShare North East received the highest award possible. A big well done to Barry and all of the volunteers

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FareShare North East begins to receive supplies from Just Cakes!

Category : News

FareShare North East begins to receive supplies from Just Cakes! The cake manufacturer from Killingworth is now supplying FareShare with its tasty treats. Lemon drizzle cakes will be heading their way to community projects the length and breadth of the region. Food banks can issue them as an extra item within their food parcels and kitchens will be able to provide that little bit extra in the sweet department

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The Cyrenians’ FareShare food project comes to East Durham

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Category : News

Over 20 community groups came together at the launch of The Cyrenians’ FareShare North East newest food redistribution base in Peterlee.

Community group leaders learned how The Cyrenians FareShare North East works with the food industry to save perfectly good food from going to landfill.

The Cyrenians’ FareShare North East, receives donations from a range of suppliers including Greggs, The Coop, Sainsbury’s and Ringtons, so helping minimise food waste by providing food surpluses to local voluntary organisations which then use it to cater for community groups and to provide food parcels for families in need.

The launch event was backed by local agencies including East Durham Trust, which supports over 300 voluntary groups in the Peterlee and the East Durham area, and also The East Durham Partnership, a social enterprise based in Horden.

Everyone at the event was treated to a delicious lunch cooked by Masterchef finalist David Coulson who is the Head Chef at locally based, Castle Eden Inn.

David used only Fareshare North East produce to create the mouth-watering meal which included pheasant Thai curry, chilli con carne and a variety of Indian dishes.

Michael Shields, General Manager of FareShare North East said;

“The help of many partners including East Durham Partnership and East Durham Trust have helped us to reach more – and support better – many of the region’s 5,000 charities and voluntary groups. This support for many, many people is at its most critical and basic – helping make sure they have enough to eat day to day. It’s a startling fact that today, right here in the North East there are people going hungry.”

Malcolm Fallon, Chief Executive of the East Durham Trust added;

“The Cyrenians FareShare North East is a vital service to our local communities which are suffering food poverty. With a significant proportion of families suffering financial hardship in East Durham it is vital we can ensure food is available to people who need it and The Cyrenians FareShare North East is an environmentally sustainable way to do this.”

Community groups which attended to find out how they could benefit from the Initiative included:

  • Salvation Army
  • Cedarwood Trust
  • St Andrews, Chilton Moor
  • Pennywell Residents Group
  • Sharp
  • Wheatley Hill Community Association
  • Blackhall and Dawdon Community Centres
  • Shotton Partnership
  • Horden Regeneration Project
  • Durham Council
  • The Wharton Trust
  • Spectrum 8

For more information contact:

Karen Humble 07976 841123

Michael Shields 0191 278 1895

Photograph attached – caption reads: –’FareShare North East General Manager Michael Shields (back centre) with Chef Dave Coulson and local community groups’


About FareShare North East

We fight hunger and tackle food waste across the North East. We supply 738,192 meals to people in need every year.

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