The Super Kitchen Project in Nottingham takes surplus food and turns it into meals to unite the community but now the charity has joined forces with The Greenway Centre in Sneinton to stop kids going hungry.
At different locations across Nottinghamshire, The Super Kitchen Project offers people a home-cooked meal, made entirely from food which would otherwise be destined for landfill.
Since 2013, the project has been providing community meals with three social benefits in mind: tackling loneliness, reducing food waste and helping people escape food poverty.
Youth workers from The Greenway Centre, have now teamed up with the East Midlands charity to provide hot meals for around 30 children per week; at their after school club.
Amy Smith, 38, runs the group, which is funded by Children in Need.
Amy said: “I’ve started to notice real changes now we are serving food. The children are less weary and have more energy to get involved in the sports.”
By incorporating the Super Kitchen model, the club now has a regular delivery of food, every two weeks from a supplier called Fareshare.
“We can provide food that many of the children will not get at home.”
Amy said: “It has definitely enhanced what we do, we now have a greater volume of food and a greater variety.
“We can provide food that many of the children will not get at home and it is great for getting the kids to try new foods.”
Fareshare is an organisation that relieves supermarkets of surplus food and redistributes it to charities and community projects around the UK. The produce is all in date and still good to eat but cannot be sold due to reasons such as incorrect labelling.
The Greenway Centre is just one of its 1,700 recipients.
Around 3.9 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK each year, according to Simone Connolly who is a spokesperson for Fareshare.
Simone said: “Teaming up with Super Kitchen means that we are turning an environmental problem into a solution and providing a lifeline to over 2,000 people in the region.”
A meal at The Greenway costs as little as 50p and the price includes an activity session.
Youth Leader Andrew Stuart, 48, said: “The kitchen and the eating have now become a major part of the session. It used to be the sport but now it’s the food.”
The recipes are often inspired by Sneinton’s diverse culture.
“Due to the unpredictable nature of surplus, we receive a wide variety of ingredients. We cook a lot of Caribbean foods such as plantain, spicy chicken, Asian-inspired curry and we even make Polish bread,” added Andrew.
The Super Kitchen Project began life as a small community cafe and sole trader.
Founder Marsha Smith, 40, said: “I had a lot of friends who were working in youth services at the time and they kept telling me how they were having problems with hungry children. I’m a mum and I just found it intolerable to think that there were children who were thirsty and hungry just round the corner from where I live.”
According to the Office for National Statistics, Nottingham now has the highest number of jobless households in the country, with 30.1% out of work and 32% of children living in poverty.
A spokesman said: “Figures from 2014 indicate on average 13-15% of households in the region are unemployed. Nottingham had the highest proportion of households where there were no adults in work in the UK.
“A total of 30.1% of households that included an adult of working age were jobless that year.”
“Many families are on low incomes and are struggling to make ends meet.”
Andrew explained that families in Sneinton are finding it difficult.
He said: “Many families are on low incomes and are struggling to make ends meet. Being able to offer a meal is fantastic as it eases the pressure for parents.
“They know when they drop the kids off that they will be getting food full of nutrients.”
Teaming up with Super Kitchen and Fareshare has given the centre a huge boost.
Amy added: “We are also able to support our holiday scheme which attracts around 60 children each day. Quite a lot of those kids are experiencing holiday hunger. They are not having a lot of access to food during the school holidays and are missing out. Becoming a Super Kitchen member has brought benefits for the whole centre.”