A FOOD charity and a community centre partnered up to ensure no-one went without a meal in the town at Christmas.

Ivy Street Community Centre delivered food and goods to families, elderly people and those struggling to make ends meet in Blackburn, after taking bumper collections of goods from the Food Redistribution Centre.

The centre, run by social enterprise Recycling Lives in Preston, supplies fresh, quality food to more than 100 charitable organisations across Lancashire.

It bridges the gap between supermarkets and small charities, diverting surplus goods from the former to the latter - allowing Ivy Street Community Centre to provide free and low-cost food to families facing poverty.

Recycling Lives’ Food Redistribution Centre, run in partnership with national charity FareShare, works to tackle the dual issues of food waste and food poverty, as UK retailers see 360 million meals go to waste annually while 4.7 million people face hunger.

Members of the Food Redistribution Centre, like Ivy Street, pay around £100 a month membership for large quantities of fresh, frozen and tinned food. 

This Christmas, the centre provided everything from turkeys, pigs in blankets and Brussels sprouts to premium items like lamb and duck for its members to feed communities.

Centre leader Christine Connell said: “The difference being a member makes to us is absolutely brilliant. Before access to this food we had to buy in dinners for our vulnerable adults, but now we have enough to make the meals ourselves, the help means everything to us.

“We picked up the older members at noon and brought them to the centre where they received a raffle ticket, their Christmas dinner and played bingo. It’s so nice to see that we can bring their own little community together.”

Recycling Lives is a unique organisation, using its commercial activities in the recycling and waste management sector to directly support and sustain a number of charitable ventures, including the Food Redistribution Centre as well as offender rehabilitation and a residential charity for the homeless. 

The centre opened in October 2015, has already delivered more than 1,000,000 meals to communities across Lancashire and Cumbria, diverting hundreds of tonnes of food waste from landfill in doing so.

Food Redistribution Centre manager Jeff Green said: “We’re so proud to be able to support groups like Blackpool Food Group. The work Neil and his team do is helping communities while helping the environment by diverting goods from landfill.”