Each week, we collect donated food and toiletries from communities in the North Bristol area through a network of neighbourhood volunteers. After collection, donations are taken to a sorting hub for allocation to our community partners who work directly with families and children in poverty. (see below)
We also collect financial donations which are used to source bulk fresh produce, fruit, vegetables, eggs and dairy products, from local suppliers for delivery to our partners.
Our partners distribute weekly donated and purchased food to families in need. Our current partners, who all serve families in areas of high deprivation and food insecurity in Bristol, are The Vench Adventure Playground in Lockleaze, St. Paul’s and Southmead Children’s Centres, Felix Road Adventure Playground, Easton, and May Park Primary school, Easton. We maintain communication between food and financial donors, community partners and the families they support through partner-liaison volunteers and monthly newsletters. This strengthens links between more affluent and less advantaged neighbourhoods, generates conversations about food poverty and raises awareness of local inequalities in access to food.
How FFA was started.
During the first national lockdown, groups of neighbours started supporting the vital work done by the local organisations through donating food and essential supplies.
A number of streets in the Bishopston, Clifton, Cotham and Redland area collect donations which are then taken to the sorting hub. The donations are allocated and then taken to the community partners for onward distribution to local families. The direct contact that these organisations have with families in their communities ensures that food gets to those who need it most and also supports community connections.
Who FFA donates to:
FFA community partners are chosen on the following basis:
- They are organisations based in areas of high deprivation in Bristol
- They have strong links with their local community, and a trusted record of work with children and families in their area
- They run food projects that aim to address food inequality through improving access to nutritious, healthy produce
- Their food programmes are part of wider action to build long-term relationships with local families and strengthen local community.
Two of partners, The Vench and St Paul’s Children’s Centre, are both part of the FOOD (Food On Our Doorstep) initiative launched by the national charity, Family Action. FFA Food donations complement the donations made to FOOD by FareShare; a charity which distributes surplus food from across the food industry. The scheme enables good quality food to be provided, while also reducing food waste.
Through Food Club organisations, it costs just £1 a year for a family to become a member of the scheme. Members are able to purchase for £3.50 a bag of food and toiletry items every week worth approx. £20 – £25; the £3.50 charge to families supports the cost of running the scheme. Unlike Food Banks, recipients do not need to be referred by the local authority or through the Trussell Trust.
Food donations to the Vench, St Pauls and Felix Road are also used to make packed lunches and meals for the children and families during school holidays and at playgroups/ afterschool clubs.
What donations FFA requests:
FFA donations of fresh fruit and vegetables, cereals, pasta and rice, beverages, tinned food, treats like biscuits and chocolate bars are particularly welcome. A majority of recipients are vegetarian or do not eat meat so we focus on these types of food donations as well as toiletries such as nappies, sanitary towels, soap, shampoo and baby toiletries.
FFA shares the week’s special requests from the partners on Facebook and Instagram.
FFA uses financial donations to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables in bulk, eggs and dairy produce, which needs to be kept refrigerated so cannot be accepted in street collections because of Food Handling Safety restrictions.
FFA does not accept donations of baby formula in line with UNICEF policy; partner organisations direct families in need of help to appropriate agencies read FFA formula policy here.
FFA does not accept donations of alcohol or of items which contain alcohol.
Food donations which are not wrapped/ sealed, where packaging is damaged, which are out-of-date or which do not have a list of contents/ingredients cannot be accepted. Unfortunately this means we cannot take eg home-made jam or bakery items or loose goods (other than fresh fruit or vegetables) from scoop/self serve shops eg Scoopaway/