WASHINGTON’s own community hub at Mickey’s Place has been given a big boost thanks to Tesco’s Community Food Connection scheme.
Based at St Michael’s All Angels Church in Sulgrave, Mickey’s was originally launched as a food bank early last summer to help support the local area as many were struggling during the first lockdown.
And while it started life as an outlet for an independent food bank, the hub soon became a Trussell Trust-affiliated centre of its own.
Now, with surplus provided by Tesco through its Community Food Connection scheme – an affiliate of leading food redistribution charity FareShare – the Washington establishment is part of the supermarket’s wider reach which provides some two million meal donations per month.
Ruth Bell, Project Manager at Mickey’s Place, says that the surplus food provided by Tesco has helped support the organisation and its mission since its inception, and feels it’s now more important than ever to help.
“Mickey’s Place is located in an area of high deprivation, child poverty, rising unemployment rates, and drug and alcohol addiction, so we are very aware of the positive impact our efforts have on our service users,” she said.
“Throughout the peak of the pandemic, we were giving away around 650 cooked two-course meals every week. In fact, we were the only place in Washington that remained open for food parcels at this time, so we really were a lifeline for so many in our community.
“We used to get our food items from the reduced to clear sections of supermarkets, so when we found out about Tesco’s Community Food Connection Scheme it gave us a much-needed boost.
Ruth now collects from her local Tesco Express seven days a week to support Mickey’s Place, which has evolved not only into a community hub, but also a pay-as-you-feel café, a centre for food package provisions, counselling and advice services.
“The colleagues at the Tesco Express are brilliant, and they really understand how important these donations are to us,” Ruth added. “We receive everything from vegetables to ready meals and pasts, and as a no-waste organisation we sometimes need to get a little imaginative with how to make the most of all the donations we receive.”
Claire da Silva, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “We know that the Community Food Connection scheme is making a real difference to groups like Mickey’s Place by providing a little bit of extra help in the shape of surplus food from our stores.”
Mickey’s Place is currently seeking additional volunteers to support the organisation, which is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9am to 1pm. Those interested in volunteering or donating supplies, should contact Ruth Bell on email@example.com