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Friday, June 25, 2021

Avanti West Coast partners with charities and organisations to distribute surplus food

Avanti West Coast supports work of charities, food banks and organisations local to its route to help people in need with donations of surplus food.

  • Charities, food banks and organisations help Avanti West Coast distribute food to those in need
  • Food and drink worth around £93,000 usually served onboard trains and at First Class Lounges donated
  • Donations help Avanti West Coast reduce environmental impact of food waste, while connecting communities to food

Avanti West Coast has partnered with charities and organisations along its route to distribute nearly £93,000 of surplus food to help local people in need.

Over the last year the inter-city operator has donated nearly 40 tonnes of food from onboard its trains and First Class Lounges that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Although the minimum amount of food is ordered for customers’ needs, the changing travel patterns and lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic left Avanti West Coast with extra as its services were only to be used for essential journeys. The train operator utilised its contacts along the route to give away the food responsibly and make a difference in the communities it serves. 

Working with logistics leader DHL Supply Chain, which is responsible for loading refreshments onboard its trains, the long-distance operator joined up with charities, food banks and organisations local to its depots in London, Wolverhampton, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston and Glasgow to distribute the surplus food.

One of the main beneficiaries receiving a share of items including eggs, olives, crisps, fruit, sandwiches, soft drinks and porridge is OLIO – the free food sharing app that connects people in the community with food.

For the last 11 months OLIO’s Food Waste Heroes – volunteers that pick up surplus food from businesses, list it on the OLIO app and allow neighbours to come and collect it for free – have been making daily collections from London Euston.

So far, OLIO has helped to share over £38,000 of the train operator’s food – enabling people to utilise food and drink that would have otherwise gone to waste, as well as reducing the environmental impact of food waste – preventing 38,000kg of CO2 being released into the atmosphere (the equivalent to 130,000 car miles being taken off the road). The charity recently launched their new community of Food Waste Heroes in Glasgow, who have begun collections from Glasgow Central station.   

Alongside its work with OLIO, Avanti West Coast has also worked with charity, FareShare, to get surplus food to communities who need it most through the crisis. So far, FareShare has redistributed 28 tonnes of surplus food from Avanti West Coast to hundreds of projects including school breakfast clubs, homeless shelters and food banks – enough food to create 67,688 meals for people who might not otherwise eat.

Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “Our transport heroes have been at the front line of keeping the country moving and again are stepping up to make a real difference to those most at need.

“It is great to see Avanti West Coast take a significant step in helping those struggling in our communities and ensuring that their surplus food goes to a good cause.”

Tessa Clarke, Co-founder & CEO at OLIO, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to the Avanti West Coast team for donating their surplus food, and to our Food Waste Heroes who are collecting and redistributing it. At a time like this it’s more important than ever that this delicious food is going to support local communities, where it is having such an enormous impact.”

Lily Pearson, Account Manager of Avanti West Coast at OLIO, said: “Avanti West Coast kindly donating their unwanted food, are directly targeting food poverty and loneliness – two issues that have been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic – by feeding those who need it and providing a connection between members of the local community.”

Phil Whittingham, Managing Director at Avanti West Coast, said: “We work with producers across the UK who take pride in supplying our customers with good, quality food, so we don’t want it to go to waste while our services are for those making essential journeys, which is why we’re sharing our surplus food to help others.

“We’re proud to be making a difference in the communities we serve by donating items of food and drink to charities, food banks and organisations, including OLIO, to support their work to help those who don’t have enough, which is becoming increasingly important as we face the impact of COVID-19.”

Photo credit: Avanti West Coast

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