Surplus food to three-course meals: charity launches six new London projects

A charity which turns surplus groceries into three-course vegetarian meals is opening up in six new areas of London.

FoodCycle provides free weekly meals to anyone who needs them at 11 locations across the capital but, as the cost of living crisis continues to bite, is ramping up its operations to feed hundreds more people every week.

It will launch six new centres this year and by 2024 aims to be feeding over 4,000 people in 30 London districts with over 126,000kg of surplus food – roughly the weight of 25 African elephants.

The expansion of the service is being made possible thanks to a grant of £174,800 from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation's charity funder.

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:

“The service FoodCycle offers is a simple but really effective way of taking food that would otherwise end up in the bin and turning it into healthy, nutritious meals.

“As the cost of living crisis begins to hit millions of Londoners, this funding will help tackle food poverty, loneliness and isolation across the capital.”

The City Bridge Trust funding will enable FoodCycle to open up new community meals projects at six locations in the next year, the first of which will run in King’s Cross and Waltham Forest.

It will also support the charity’s existing operations in Bow Road, East Ham, Finsbury Park, Hackney, Islington, Lewisham, Kilburn, Marylebone, Peckham, Wandsworth Road and White City.

FoodCycle says the coronavirus pandemic, the rising cost of living and the impact of the war in Ukraine is pushing more people into food poverty and increasing demand for its service.

FoodCycle Trusts and Foundations Manager Tom Osborne said:

“What we see at the moment is that people are struggling – those we are supporting have been squeezed further and it’s inevitable that more people will end up in poverty and need.

“Our meals help our guests eat more healthily, try new foods and save money. They also have a really important benefit of helping people feel less lonely and more connected with their community by coming together in a safe space and making new friends.”

More information about Food Cycle’s community meals service is at www.foodcycle.org.uk

The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of over £25 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

Case study: ‘It’s not about the food on the table, it’s about being around the table’

Lee Gibbs lives near two FoodCycle projects in Peckham and Lewisham, which he has been attending for the last four years.

He said: “I had been caring for my aunt for 15 years and once she died the idea of eating alone was unappealing and I wanted to meet people.

“Some people come for the food and some people come for the company. I go mostly for the community – it’s not about the food on the table, it’s about being around the table.”

Picture captions

- FoodCycle Islington at New River Baptist Church

- FoodCycle Kilburn at St Cuthbert’s Church, West Hampstead

- Lee Gibbs attends FoodCycle projects in Peckham and Lewisham

- City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The City Corporation is the sole trustee of Bridge Houses Estates, a charity founded in 1097 to maintain London Bridge, and Members of its Court of Common Council form the Bridge House Estates Board.

Bridge House Estates is now responsible for maintaining Tower, London, Southwark, Millennium and Blackfriars Bridges, and its grants team, City Bridge Trust – founded in 1995 – gives out over £25 million a year to good causes across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk


About FoodCycle

FoodCycle connects communities by bringing people together to share food and conversation. Week in, week out, thousands of volunteers across the country transform surplus food into healthy, delicious meals for anyone that needs them, no questions asked. Food poverty and loneliness are growing issues, both heightened by the recent pandemic. By offering a safe, welcoming space to enjoy a free meal and company, FoodCycle brings people from all backgrounds and walks of life together, improving mental wellbeing and strengthening community spirit. FoodCycle also runs a free Check-in and Chat telephone service, where volunteers make weekly calls to anyone in need of a natter – www.foodcycle.org.uk


Tim Fletcher | Media officer – public services

City of London Corporation

07738 862229 | tim.fletcher@cityoflondon.gov.uk