Blackpool Food Partnership’s now collecting fresh fruit and vegetables for the first time and distributing it to 38 organisations across Blackpool.

And now Children’s Centres, hostels and community kitchens are benefiting from the generosity of facilities management company OCS – based locally at The Harbour, Blackpool - after it donated five fridges to help store surplus fruit and veg.

Said BFP project manager and project co-ordinator Nikki Hart: “We’re now collecting produce from our new store partners My Local and Morrison’s as well as our existing partners Sainsbury’s and Booths, and also receiving food from local farms.“

OCS has been working with the Partnership to provide advice and training on the storage of food as well as providing equipment. BFP has also received a financial donation from the OCS Family Foundation that’ll be used to train volunteers in food hygiene and provide additional equipment to meet the increasing demand.

Michael Buck from OCS said: “As a family organisation, we’re committed to making a difference to the communities in which we work.”

Explained Nikki: “For the first time, we’re offering families and single people fresh fruit and vegetables.

“We’ve also started training volunteers to teach people to cook with the help of Blackpool Council’s Wellness Service and they’ll be able to use the vegetables to show people how to cook cheap and healthy meals.

“We know many people survive on pre-packed meals which are expensive and are delighted that our partner organisations can teach people to cook cheaper and more nutritious meals.”

The additional fridges increase the shelf life of surplus vegetables which would go into landfill or fuel.

Said Nikki: “The most economical and sustainable use of surplus food is in someone’s belly.

“Latest benefit cuts are likely to have a significant impact on the need for food, so to be able to expand the amount and range of food that we can take is very timely,” she added.

The Children’s Centres will use the fresh fruit for smoothies, healthy snacks and it’ll also be distributed to families in need.

And if you own an allotment or have fruit trees in your garden, have you thought of donating any excess produce to the Partnership? Contact Su on 07780 007 563 to drop your spare veg off.

Top: Su is pictured centre with BFP volunteers and Michael Buck from OCS at The Harbour (back, second right) after the fridge donation