Business in the Community entrant – Affordable Food Stoke
The idea for Affordable Food Stoke originated in late 2016 and is the result of founders Duane and Nikki Barrett’s desire to have a positive impact in Stoke-on-Trent.
They are passionate about reducing food waste and supporting communities. Now a registered charity, Blurton-based Affordable Food Stoke has a request for an emergency food parcel every 90 minutes.
Duane Barrett, who is Staffordshire University alumni, said: “At Affordable Food Stoke we want to make a difference, believing we are part of a great city, a city of potential, a city of good people who have fallen on hard times, and through our own lived experiences, obstacles and challenges we have been able to connect with the local community, showing a humility and empathy that brings us all together.
“When we were granted registered charity status in 2021 we wanted this togetherness to grow and one of the ways we were able to nurture this connection was to ensure our trustees were made up of local community members. Some of whom volunteered for us, and some that used our services, thus allowing us a clear link to the community.
“Success can only be achieved if we are people led, ensuring the community are at the centre of the decision-making process, and the heart of everything we do.”
The Affordable Food Stoke free food section started with a small vegetable rack filled with just a few items. Duane and Nikki noticed more and more people accessing this service and actively asking for more as they were openly struggling with food insecurity issues.
To support the growth of the free food section they now partner with FareShare, Neighbourly, Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and Booker. They have volunteers dedicated to collecting surplus food from various supermarkets which ensures there is always something available to those that need it the next day.
An average 200 people a week access this service quoting reasons such as food insecurity, financial struggles, family reasons or simply wanting to support the reduction of food waste.
They currently collect from 12 organisations and since February 2022 Affordable Food Stoke has collected, sorted and circulated more than 22,385kg of food, the equivalent of 67,650 meals, saving 90,920kg of CO2 emissions.
Affordable Food Stoke has entered the Business in the Community category of the Staffordshire University Business Awards.