A Twickenham healthy food group aiming to avoid surplus food going to waste has seen a rise in interest following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Founded in 2018, The Real Junk Food Project – Twickenham aims to save surplus food from local supermarkets and allow people to pick up a wide range of fruit and vegetables under a ‘pay as you feel’ scheme.
The scheme also runs a cafe during its opening hours, providing healthy meals such as soups and curries at the ETNA Community Centre in Twickenham and at the Greenwood Community Centre in Hampton Hill.
The Real Junk Project Food Project aims to educate people about the issue of surplus food going to waste as well as encourage people to eat healthily, and project director Crissy Weller hailed its success.
She said: “I think it’s been a lot more successful than we imagined but it’s been as successful as we hoped it would be.
“When we first set it up we had a very slow approach so we didn’t get overwhelmed. It’s been quite a nice, steady growth over the past two and a half years.
“It’s been nice to see how people have responded to it.”
Traditionally the project used to receive donations of surplus food from supermarkets but are grateful that several pubs in the area have made donations during both Covid-19 lockdowns.
Weller said: “It’s been really lovely that they’ve stepped in and passed food onto us because we can get it out. It’s been really nice to see that local business support.
“The Eel Pie are our biggest supporters. They love us to bits!”
The Real Junk Food Project has continued running throughout the pandemic and has seen a rise in use and popularity since it started, though restrictions mean the cafe is functioning differently during the current lockdown.
Weller said: “It’s a lot more crucial now then when we first started.There’s definitely been an increase in people but also in the kind of people coming.
“We get a lot more families through the door and a lot more people who live in hostels and in supported housing.
“Normally we have tables set up and people can sit down and have nice conversations. That’s one of the elements people really love about our project.
“With lockdown, it’s quite hard. We have people come in who crave that kind of communication and company but we have to have a takeaway service only.”
You can find out more about The Real Junk Food Project here.