Coronation Food Project launched by The King and Queen
To mark His Majesty’s 75th birthday, the Coronation Food Project was launched during a visit to a surplus food distribution centre in Didcot
The King and Queen visited a surplus food distribution centre in Didcot today, where they launched the Coronation Food Project, a new initiative to save and circulate more surplus food and use it for social good.
The project, which was inspired by The King, aims to create a fairer and more sustainable future by saving more surplus food, supercharging food distribution through centres like the SOFEA hub in Didcot, and supporting the wider sector with flexible funding. The initiative is being led by Baroness Louise Casey and Dame Martina Milburn and coordinated by the King Charles III Charitable Fund.
Baroness Casey said: “Up to 14 million people in the UK are facing food poverty at the same time that millions of tonnes of food go to waste each year. The Coronation Food Project won’t solve the issue of food poverty, but we can and must make a difference for communities in such stark need. This work is urgent given the winter and Christmas that so many families will face.”
Dame Martina explained how the project will support leading food rescue charities, including FareShare across the UK and the Felix Project in London, to enhance and scale the infrastructure that gets surplus food to where it is needed most. She said: “We need more warehouses, more fridges, freezers and refrigerated lorries. When there is a glut of surplus food, we need ways of keeping it fresh so that it doesn’t go to waste. We also want to give a boost to some of the thousands of brilliant local community initiatives that are doing vital work in this area, so the project will include a grants scheme, once we’ve raised enough funds.”
During their visit to SOFEA, FareShare’s regional hub in Didcot, The King and Queen met staff and volunteers who transport surplus food into the warehouse, store and pack it before sending it out to more than 120 community organisations in need across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and Wiltshire.
Their Majesties also met senior figures from the food industry, both major retailers and manufacturers, who have joined forces under a new model to save even more waste and generate additional food for the charity sector. Through the Alliance Manufacturing programme, they aim to utilise surplus and donated resources of any kind – food, packaging, labour and capacity – to produce more nutritious food to help people in need.
Richard Kennell, CEO of SOFEA said: “Day in, day out, our staff and volunteers are collecting surplus food and making sure it gets out of the warehouse and on to the plates of people in need. The reason today has been so special, is that it lets us shine a spotlight on what they do. It’s such an honour for us to welcome The King and Queen to our depot and I can’t wait to see the difference the Coronation Food Project makes.”
The Coronation Food Project will be made possible through the generous support of philanthropists, donors and corporate partners. Dori Dana-Haeri, who chairs the project’s development committee said: “I was astonished by the scale of both food waste and food poverty in the UK, so I wanted to do something practical to help and I am delighted to be volunteering for the Coronation Food Project. If you share our mission to reduce food waste and feed more communities in need, we’d welcome you on board as a donor or partner.”
The public are being urged to support the project by donating via www.coronationfoodproject.org .