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Norwich charity hunts for new home

Food Cycle Volunteers serve vegetarian food to promote social inclusion and prevent poverty using leftover food from supermarkets.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Food Cycle Volunteers serve vegetarian food to promote social inclusion and prevent poverty using leftover food from supermarkets. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

A charity which provides food and support for dozens of the most vulnerable people in the city is facing an uncertain future.

For the last four years Foodcycle Norwich has been serving meals every Friday at the city’s Quaker Meeting House in Upper Goat Lane, for up to 100 people at risk of food poverty and social isolation.

However, it must now begin the search for a new home after the charity decided its long-term future could not be sustained at the current location due to rising operating costs.

“We have worked in partnership with The Quakers since 2011 and are very grateful for their support over the years,” said Robyn Stone from Foodcycle.

“We are looking for a new home for Foodcycle Norwich and are seeking to work with a new partner organisation that can provide a suitable free space for the service.”

Foodcycle, which was 
established in 2009, aims to serve nutritious meals to vulnerable people, made from food donated by local businesses. It is one of about 120 such projects established across the UK.

The Norwich branch has received 13,295kg of food and served 11,047 meals since it first opened its door in 2011.

Volunteers travel around the city on bicycles with trailers attached to deliver their collected food to the Meeting House, where the kitchen volunteers work to cook a three-course meal.

The service is invaluable to those who use it. In a feature in the Evening News earlier this month, Dennis Bartram, a regular diner, said: “I come here most weeks. It’s lovely and is a chance to get good, hot food. I get to meet other people and it gets me out of the house.”

Robert Bailey, 66 of Norwich, added: “I was recommended to come because a friend of mine was involved. It is a way of networking and there are a lot of people who have similar interests.

“When I’m on my own I am quite upset with all the awful things happening in the world. I leave that at the door when I come here.”

Foodcycle have said they are optimistic the service will continue to provide for the city.

Mrs Stone added: “We’re confident that we will be able to find another partner in the city, but thanks to our good relationship with the Quakers they have allowed us to continue to use their premises for the time being until we find an alternative.”

To host Foodcycle Norwich there a number of criteria that need to be fulfilled, including a kitchen with cooking facilities, space to seat up to 60 people and availability for at least one meal time a week.

In exchange for the donation of space Foodcycle, which is managed by seven core volunteers and can have up to 25 helping out, will provide a free weekly service.

Ms Stone added: “This will have a huge mutual benefit and mean that we can guarantee we are there to support vulnerable people in the city over the coming years.”

Foodcycle Norwich runs every Friday, 7pm to 9pm.

If you are interested in hosting Foodcycle Norwich, call Robyn Stone on 02077 292775 or email Robyn@foodcycle.org.uk or call 0207 729 2775.

Do you have a Norwich story? Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk

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