One man's work to make sure families in Doncaster don't struggle for food this summer, has made a big impact.
Families across the borough have eaten well these holidays, thanks largely to the efforts of Steve Cole, of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust.
Through partnership working, Steve, who is the Trust’s EPIC project worker, (Encourage Potential, Inspire Change) has seen food supplied to young people attending the Trust's summer programme, and to families who needed a helping hand.
Steve started a Food Share scheme earlier this year, teaming up with Tesco stores at Edenthorpe and Woodfield Plantation, the Fareshare Yorkshire charity and the StreetGames sports charity.
He made daily pick-ups of surplus food items from Tesco local branches, so providing free and healthy snacks for young people on the programme. Remaining food has gone to help families using Trust services; the Cantley House care leavers project; the Pause practice; the College Road homeless shelter, Edlington Community Centre and care homes who look after Doncaster children.
Steve said: “The scheme would not have been possible without the invaluable help of Fareshare Yorkshire, who run a project called ActiveAte, or from StreetGames, who run a Fit and Fed campaign - and we thank them for their fantastic support.”
The project does not stop there. Steve said: “Last week, Cantley House, which is a Trust step-up facility towards independent living for care leavers, was awarded a 5-star food hygiene rating, thanks to the hard work of manager Mags Silvester and staff members Mica and Josh, which means we can now collect chilled food."
Tesco Community Champions Amanda from Edenthorpe and Kayleigh from Woodfield Plantation, provided food and a birthday cake for a birthday bash for a nine-year-old at the EPIC summer activities; and picnic and packed lunch for 14 children when the scheme visits the Yorkshire Wildlife park in September, he added.
“This week I am meeting with Asda at Carcroft and at the Dome, after which my intention is to build a supply chain via the Trust service teams to provide food for our families in need."
Chief Executive of the Trust, Paul Moffat, said: “Steve has really gone the extra mile in his quest to help local families. He has organised the food collection scheme on top of his day-to-day job purely because he cares about those we work with. He is a good example of how we all, at the Trust, put the children, young people and families at the heart of everything we do.
“The Trust is always keen to work with partners and we thank Fareshare Yorkshire and StreetGames for their support.”
Matt Fisher StreetGames Area Director Yorkshire, said: “Fit and Fed is an important campaign in Doncaster and across the whole of Britain. In the UK, an estimated three million children experience holiday hunger over the summer holidays.
"Projects like Food Share in Doncaster are proving a great success; making a real difference to children and their families over the summer. The kids love the activities and have a fantastic time meeting new friends, playing sports and getting a good meal at the same time, helping to fight the triple inequalities of holiday hunger, isolation and inactivity.
“The Fit and Fed campaign is dependent on donations and would not be possible without the generous support from members of the public and local businesses, to allow the campaign to continue past the summer; and anyone who is able to donate can do so via the Fit and Fed JustGiving page or by searching ‘Fit and Fed JustGiving’ online."
Gareth Batty, Chief Executive of FareShare Yorkshire said: “As Yorkshire’s largest food charity, we were delighted to support EPIC Doncaster, DARTS, Active Fusion, Club Doncaster Foundation, Flying Futures, St Leger Homes, Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust and Thorne Rugby Club over the summer.
"We delivered one tonne of quality surplus food for each week of the summer holidays across these nine frontline services and eight year-round Community Food Members.
"At retail that would have cost these vital 17 services approximately £10,000 but thanks to the JW Chapman Earlsmere Trust we were able to provide this desperately needed food at no charge to these services. Across 1,788 trays we provided in-date surplus food that included 1.8 tonnes of carbohydrates, 0.7 tonnes of dairy, 1.2 tonnes of fruit and vegetables and 1 tonne of protein. Doncaster Schools Catering were then instrumental in ensuring this food was turned into approximately 14,000 delicious healthy meals.”