Hundreds of East Devon residents have been given more than 60,000 free meals in the past year thanks to a council-food provider partnership.

It comes as part of a special project which not only helps to reduce unnecessary food waste, looking after our environment, but it also helps families, from all walks of life, to reduce shopping bills.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) announced a long-awaited partnership, 12 months ago, between the authority, Fareshare and eight foodbanks and community organisations in Axminster, Broadclyst, Exmouth, Honiton, Ottery and Sidmouth.

The project brings food from Bristol into Honiton each week, which is then shared amongst food providers around the district.

In East Devon, more than three tonnes of food (which is more than 7,000 meals) went directly to Honiton and Axminster tenants. This saved 1.2 tonnes of Co2 by saving the food from going to waste and possibly ending up in landfill. Reducing food waste is the third most effective solution to climate change according to recent research.  

The East Devon Hub, including all the other providers, used more than 26 tonnes (a whopping 62,715 meals!), helping the environment and reducing packaging waste as well.

Council officer Victoria Robinson first met with Fareshare - the UK’s national network of charitable food redistributors – to discuss a new project to bring waste food into East Devon more than three years ago.

The project has already helped to save thousands of pounds for these wonderful organisations, that help so many people struggling to afford the basics in East Devon.

Currently, East Devon officers deliver food to 12 households in Axminster which adds up to 30 people a week while Litteham Community fridge is supporting 60 people per week. 

A larger group, like Ottery Larder which is open for collection every day, and helps more like 150 people each week!

Councillor Dan Ledger, EDDC’s portfolio holder for sustainable homes and communities, said:  

These food providers alongside our community development worker, Victoria Robinson, deliver an amazing service to the residents across East Devon.

I really can't applaud and thank them enough for their continued support to their communities. The groups are victims of their own success though.

Food waste is down dramatically and Fareshare have highlighted they may struggle with demand over the next 12 months. If you're able to, please do not forget to donate to your local groups over the coming months.

*If you or anyone you know is struggling financially, please do get in touch with EDDC’s financial resilience team by completing a short online form at this link or call our Customer Service number on 01404 515616.