Hello lovely people!
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of our project, and tell you our exciting news!
October 2020 sees the 6th anniversary of the formation of The Real Junk Food Project Birmingham. Since our modest beginnings in 2014, we have redistributed over 1800 tonnes of waste food, cooked and served over 36,000 meals, helped 100 people achieve a Level 2 Food Safety Certificate, and seen dozens of volunteers move on into paid employment. All this would never have been possible without our amazing bank of volunteers and without the ongoing support of our donors and partner organisations.
This past year has been our busiest yet, with many changes to how we operate, but while it’s been a challenging time for us all, it has also brought new opportunities and a chance for reflection on our aims and purpose moving forward.
We’ve been having a think, and increasingly, the TRJFPB name doesn’t work for us any more. We wanted something that better expresses who we are and what we do, in a positive way, and that doesn’t immediately make everyone think of burgers and chips! We also needed something that wasn’t solely food-waste focused, as we’re increasingly getting involved with community growing, distribution of non-food items, and other initiatives.
And so, moving forward we will be known as
We hope you like it!
What does this mean for the project? Genuinely, not that much will change at ground level.
Our new website is already live at incrediblesurplus.org and emails and documents will begin migrating over to the new name and logo. We’d urge you to sign up to receive email updates from there, but we’re going to continue running all the services we’ve been doing over the past few months, and possibly adding a few new initiatives into the mix, as time, covid restrictions, and volunteer capacity allows.
We hope you’re as excited by our new look as we are, and hope you will continue to support us as we move the project into its next phase. We look forward to working with you to collect and distribute more Incredible Surplus in 2020 and beyond!
Hi there! We hope this update finds you well. It’s been a few weeks since the last update, and a LOT has happened!
Firstly, let’s talk about the really astounding numbers of people we’re helping at the moment, in conjunction with The Active Wellbeing Society, Birmingham City Council and others.
We’ve supported 23,152 people since the 20th March. That’s 10,000 more than at the last update!
Without context, it’s difficult to see how this compares to TRJFP Brum activity normally, so let’s look at the amount of donated food we’ve redistributed.
The yellow line shows the amount of food we received and redistributed between 1st January and 15th May 2020, compared with the same period in previous years (blue and green). As you can see, after tracking reasonably closely with previous years until mid February, it’s now more than double!
It’s also worth saying here that despite getting significantly more food than usual, we’re regularly running short at the moment – the demand is so great. So if you have any contacts in supermarkets, wholesalers, or businesses who might be in a position to donate food, please ask them to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can ensure it gets to people who need it!
It has long been our aim to have an electric vehicle, so we can make deliveries around the city emission-free. This month, through a combination of cafe/event donations, and awards from Severn Trent Water and Heart of England Community Foundation Trust, our dream came true, and we now have a lovely, almost new, electric Nissan van!
This has been invaluable with all the extra collections and drop-offs, has enabled us to support other initiatives and organisations across the city, including transporting material and donation boxes for the Birmingham subgroup of For The Love Of Scrubs
As well as companies and organisations donating food and money to support the #BrumTogether initiative, individuals have also been working hard to support people in need in our communities.
Streets have banded together (in a socially distant way, of course) to collect food, carrier bags and eggboxes for us, crafty people are sewing masks and bags, and others have been undertaking energetic feats to raise money for the cause – like Rosalyn Clare who has been climbing her stairs at home the equivalent height of Snowdon, and has already raised an amazing £628!
We’ve also reached another longed for TRJFPBrum milestone in gaining our own allotment plot! For the moment, while social distancing remains essential, no volunteers are needed, but in the future hopefully many willing volunteers can come to tend our produce and till our soil!
Lastly, if you’re fed up of your own cooking, and would like a break, we are now offering a Friday Night Pay-As-You-Feel Takeaway Service for pickup in Kings Heath!
For details of our PAYF collection opening times, and links for how to access support or offer your services as a volunteer, please visit our Home Page.
Until next time, look after yourselves, stay safe, and be kind.
Hello again! Hope you’re keeping well.
So, what have we been up to in the last week or so?
TRJFPBrum volunteers are still really busy, working 7 days a week intercepting and sorting food for distribution, in conjunction with The Active Wellbeing Society, Fareshare, Birmingham City Council and many other organisations to get food and supplies to the people who need them.
You can request support by clicking the button below and leaving your details on the form. You do not have to be a designated ‘vulnerable’ person to access the help available, the service is for everyone!
Alternatively, if you are able to get out and about, we’re distributing food at various locations and times throughout the week – check here for details.
TRJFPBrum have helped distribute food to over 13,000 people since the 20th March.
We were featured in the Birmingham Mail. Liam Byrne MP has also been tweeting about what we’ve been doing, you can watch this video he made of TAWS CEO Karen Creavin here:
If you want to help us, we’re currently looking for donations of carrier bags and egg boxes – ideally dropped off at Ladywood Community Centre (click here for full address and map) between 9am and 4pm, or if that’s not possible, to any of the locations we’re distributing food, (listed here).
If you’re able to volunteer your time, you can:
- Offer support via phone to those self isolating
- Help with packing
- Offer resources and activities for home educating, or DBS checked child care to families
- Distribute or store food collected
- Collect groceries, prescriptions etc
- Translation and language skills to help communications
- Specialised medical and mental health support
- Pet walking
… or any other ideas you have to help Birmingham citizens in need by clicking the button below and leaving your details.
Thank you to everyone who is working so hard across the city. We’re so proud to be able to do our bit to help with this essential work! Stay Safe!
So, how’s everyone doing?
We’re a few weeks into this now and The Real Junk Food Project Birmingham volunteers are busier than ever collecting and redistributing food in partnership with other organisations.
Between the 20th and 31st March we distributed food to 5822 people!
How can you help?
Firstly, direct anyone who needs assistance to https://theaws.co.uk/relief/
Get the word out there – tell families, friends , neighbours, work colleagues , charities , public services. You can use the form on theaws.co.uk/relief to request food, transport, information, a friendly chat or advice, advice on staying at home, or emergency non-food supplies. Or all of the above!
Can you donate carrier bags or even better recycled fabric #morsbags? If you can use a sewing machine to help make cloth bags – get in touch at email@example.com.
Do you know of anywhere that could donate sawdust to help with our composting? Our usual suppliers aren’t operating right now. Again, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you well, not in self-isolation, and have a few hours free you could help pack bags at Ladywood? If so, please send your contact details to email@example.com.
Thanks to everyone working hard around Birmingham (and beyond!) doing our best to #FeedBelliesNotBins
So all over the region – groups like ourselves and TAWS (The Active Wellbeing Society), covid-19 support, and BVSC are working together to collect and distribute food so that people in need, and people who can’t leave their homes to get food, can eat.
Keep watching our Facebook and Twitter feeds for the most up to date information of what we’re doing and where we’ll be.
If you work for a business who has food to donate, or food containers you can donate, please get in touch with the details via firstname.lastname@example.org or by texting 0781 572 320 (text messages only).
If you are self-isolating and require food delivery or any form of support visit www.theaws.co.uk/relief
Here is Olga from TAWS explaining what we’ve been up to:
Share to raise awareness #BrumTogether #FeedBelliesNotBins
Hello lovely volunteers!
We need your help. But not in the way you might think…
Yes, we’re really busy right now. But we need you to stay home and self-isolate unless we ask you to come in.
To give the NHS a fighting chance of coping, it’s really important that covid-19 is contained as much as possible. To achieve this we need to physically distance ourselves from others.
- If you have any symptoms (sore throat, cough, temperature, headache) STAY HOME FOR AT LEAST 7 DAYS
- If you’re in a house with anyone with symptoms STAY HOME FOR AT LEAST 14 DAYS from they day they first showed symptoms
- Do not come to any TRJFP site to volunteer unless you have contacted a lead person (Dibah & Vicky at Kings Heath, Ann at Ladywood/Sharehouse) and they have said you are needed
- Keep vigilantly washing your hands and STAY AT HOME AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
We appreciate that volunteering is a really important social part of people’s lives. We also know that you guys just want to help in any way you can. We wouldn’t be asking you to STAY AT HOME unless we thought it was absolutely necessary. But it is. People’s lives will depend upon it.
If you are able to volunteer your time elsewhere, you could look on Facebook for Covid-19 groups, we know BVSC and Foodcycle are looking for assistance in Northfield, as will other local organisations – try to find out what is happening on your doorstep. As the situation evolves, we will contact you to ask for your help when we need you.
Thanks for your understanding and for your commitment to TRJFPBrum.
Stay safe and keep well.
The TRJFP Team
If you’ve been watching the news (who hasn’t?!) then you will know that all our cafés are now closed until further notice.
We will still be distributing food waste as and when we’re given it, mainly from our Sharehouse in Winson Green, but potentially from other locations; keep watching Facebook and Twitter for updates of what we are doing, and where we will be.
Our project is and remains for everyone, all are welcome to shop on a PayAsYouFeel basis, though please do keep following the advice on social distancing, keep washing your hands, and stay home if you have any symptoms of coronavirus.
We are working closely with a group of agencies to help distribute food across the city to where it is needed, and given the latest government announcement, we’re anticipating that many pubs, restaurants and cafés will have food to donate. If you know of food that is potentially going to waste, please do let us know by emailing email@example.com – we have the space and the network to ensure it will #FeedBelliesNotBins.
Much like everyone else, we don’t know what comes next.
We do know that our volunteers will be working hard, wherever we’re needed. We urge you all to pull together, follow the NHS advice, look after yourselves and your neighbours, and be kind to each other. We wish you all the very best.
Our volunteers have been really busy over the last few days.
We’ve been working hard. A group of organisations has come together in to co-ordinate the collection and distribution of food to those who need it, now or in the future, due to the social and financial effects of the covid-19 pandemic.
We have been rescuing food from cancelled events, and drawing on our local partnerships to ensure that as little is wasted as possible and as much as possible goes to benefit those in our community who need it.
We know many people rely on the food we provide from our cafés, boutiques and sharehouses, and more may need to do so in the coming days and weeks, so we want to keep this up for as long as we can.
But we have also been carefully watching the news and announcements from the government, and in light of the announcement that we should stop non-essential contact with others, we have decided to make some changes.
- We will continue to distribute food via as many of our cafés and sharehouses as possible, with extra openings when needed. Please don’t attend if you have symptoms of covid-19, but follow NHS advice to self-isolate.
- If you are symptom-free, but self isolating for your own safety as you are in a vulnerable group, you are welcome to bring your own resealable container to our cafés and we will fill it for you to take away and eat at home.
- There will be no more Freegan Boxes until further notice. We will contact everyone on the list to let them know – please make sure our emails aren’t going into your spam folder!
TRJFP Brum has the facilities to sort and distribute 10 tonnes waste a week safely. We are working with food banks, The Active Well Being Society, schools, the Warehouse Café and other groups. We have storage facilities in Kings Heath and Winson Green and are making plans on opening other sites.
So if you work in the food industry and know that food within its use by date (or close to its best before date) is at risk of being binned, please get in touch.
Possible sources of food if you are in need
(vouchers may be needed)
- TAWS Big Feed
Other sources of info/help
Make contact with neighbours to help and be helped.
Keep calm and wash your hands!
It cannot have escaped your attention that the UK along with the rest of the world is currently caught up in a global pandemic, caused by a new form of coronavirus known as COVID-19.
We would like to take this opportunity to make it clear that for the time being all our venues are open as usual, but that we will, of course, follow government guidance when or if it changes.
We would like to ask all our customers and volunteers to please follow Public Health England’s latest advice, which is to:
Stay home & self-isolate for 7 days if you have a temperature or cough and to
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds often.
In case you’re wondering how long 20 seconds is… here’s Gloria Gaynor with a helpful video: