18590A Newcastle-based hostel operated by Thirteen Care and Support is helping tackle food poverty in the region after signing up to FairShare, a national initiative that redistributes surplus food to those in need.

Under the scheme, Cumberland House Hostel will receive deliveries three times a month, which will be divided into food parcels and shared with veteran centres and other hostels, before being given to clients experiencing financial and personal difficulties.

Alongside the provision of food, staff and volunteers at Cumberland House will run a series of workshops aimed at improving participants’ ability to plan healthy and affordable meals, in the hope they can use this knowledge to enjoy a well-balanced diet when they no longer require the service.

The increase in client engagement that the FairShare initiative has brought has been well received, and has resulted in social events, such as curry nights, that boost morale among Thirteen Care and Support’s clients.

FairShare helped turn 7,493 tonnes of unwanted food into 16.2m meals last year, and is continuing to expand its service provision across the UK. Its valued support has helped 5.8m people living in deep poverty and also helped relieve environment pressures caused by discarded food.

Emma Scott, Team Leader at Thirteen Care and Support, said: “After only a few months of FairShare support we have been able to make a significant difference in the lives of our clients. Previously, had they not been able to feed themselves, they would have either gone without, or borrowed money, which would have led to further problems down the line.”

“Now, not only can we help clients out in times of need, but we can also educate them to ensure that they can provide healthy, substantial and affordable meals. Staff and volunteers at Cumberland House have given a great deal of time and effort to make sure the scheme is a success – they should be proud of the positive changes they’ve helped to facilitate.”

A Cumberland House Hostel resident, commented: “The service comes in very handy when you are having a hard time. The food and support I receive allows me to enjoy a much healthier lifestyle, which I couldn’t achieve previously.”