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London group FoodCycle wins government funding

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By Laurence Gibbons+

Last updated on 03-Sep-2014 at 12:46 GMT

Foodcycle has received £10,000 of government funding
Foodcycle has received £10,000 of government funding

Bromley-by-Bow-based FoodCycle has received £10,000 of government funding to help it increase volunteering opportunities.

FoodCycle trains unemployed young people to create nutritious and affordable meals for people at risk of food poverty and isolation.

They also help run its community café near its headquarters in East London.

Mary McGrath, FoodCycle chief executive, said the grant would enable it to work with more volunteer trainees to help them develop new skills and build their confidence.

Transform surplus ingredients

“FoodCycle is powered by groups of amazing volunteers across the country who come out rain or shine to transform surplus ingredients into delicious three-course meals for vulnerable people in their community,” she added.

“Our café gives volunteers the chance to work in a busy kitchen environment and develop a range of skills – from teamwork and communication to food safety and barista training – as well as gain the all-important confidence that will help them to find employment.”

FoodCycle runs 18 volunteer-powered community projects across the UK and has served over 100,000 meals since starting out in 2009.

Pie in the Sky Community Café promotes healthy eating in the community – an area of poor health outcomes and high deprivation – and support volunteer trainees to develop the skills and confidence needed to gain employment. Last year the cafe supported 39 volunteer trainees into employment, education, or training.

Since being set up in 2011, the Team London Small Grants scheme was established to help expand local projects and provide more volunteering opportunities for Londoners.

So far, £813,500 has been given to support 152 projects and fund almost 12,000 volunteers.

The focus this year is increasing volunteering amongst young people and other groups who may face difficulty in finding suitable opportunities.

Boris Johnson

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson encouraged as many young people as possible to visit the Team London website and get involved.

“These small organisations are doing fantastic work and it is wonderful that increasing numbers of young people are willing to give their time to build stronger communities and improve the capital,” he said.

“The beauty of volunteering is that in giving time they also gain skills and experience that can be hugely beneficial to their future employment opportunities.”

Sutton Community Farm also received a £10,000 grant to help it teach young people – many of whom have learning difficulties or other disabilities – about managing a farm and working with others.

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