Is 'Community Dining' The Answer To Tackling Loneliness And Food Insecurity?

As Cost of Living Crisis continues, Food Charity opens 2nd project in Sheffield
Lucy Self
May 26, 2023

Volunteers are urgently needed to help FoodCycle tackle food poverty in Sheffield, as 87% of guests say that FoodCycle makes them feel part of their community, 81% say that attending a FoodCycle meal makes them feel less lonely, 86% said they feel happier after coming to a FoodCycle meal - and 84% said they have made friends at a FoodCycle meal.

FoodCycle, the charity that aims to make food poverty, loneliness and food waste a thing of the past for every community, is in urgent need of volunteers as it opens its second Project in Sheffield and its sixth in Yorkshire and The Humber. Opening on 13th June at Mount Tabor Methodist Church, the weekly free meal will provide great food and conversation every Tuesday at 6.30pm for anyone who wants to come along.  

FoodCycle Yorkshire and The Humber Regional Manager, Mathew Milner says: ”We are thrilled to be opening our sixth Project in the region and second in the city, introducing FoodCycle to the Sheffield Parson Cross community. As the cost-of-living crisis continues to hit people hard across the country, our service is more vital than ever. We look forward to providing a good chat and a nutritious, three-course meal to anyone in the community who needs it, no questions asked.”

FoodCycle recently released a research report highlighting how ‘community dining’ is the answer to tackling loneliness and food insecurity. Written by social eating and community food systems expert, Dr Marsha Smith of Coventry University and supported by a survey of 2,000 people*. The survey found that near to 2 in 3 agree that not enough is being done by local councils to promote community dining projects. It also highlighted that we are a nation of solo diners, with 24% saying that they eat alone every day of the week, Yet, one in two believe mental health is benefited by eating together. In terms of hurdles to finding social connection, it found that 96% of the population have not heard of community dining projects but near to one in two would attend if one was available in their area.

FoodCycle Needs You

FoodCycle Sheffield Parson Cross is looking to recruit new volunteers and Project Leaders. Flexible volunteer roles without a minimum time commitment are open to anyone and include food collection, surplus food coordinators, cooking, hosting and running Projects.

Serving up free weekly community meals using food that would otherwise have gone to waste, FoodCycle is a vital service that relies on its volunteers to provide nutritious food and conversation across the UK.

Paul, FoodCycle Volunteer says; "Because of FoodCycle, I’ve found I enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen environment and it’s something I’d love to do as proper paid work. Being at FoodCycle every week helps to show that I am reliable, can work with other people and that I am committed, so it’s really changed things for me. We have a natter and a laugh, and I like the teamwork and the people. We eat good food and catch up on what we’ve been doing in the week. Everyone is very kind and very inclusive."

FoodCycle Guests

FoodCycle’s free community meals are for everyone, and guests range from low-income families, people affected by homelessness and those who cannot afford to buy food. No questions asked, you can just turn up and take a seat.

Without volunteers, FoodCycle cannot provide a vital service to the community who have come to rely on the chance to sit down to a free, three-course meal every week.

Opening on 13th June 2023, the free weekly meal at FoodCycle Sheffield Parson Cross will take place every Tuesday from 6.30pm at Mount Tabor Methodist Church, Wordsworth Avenue Sheffield S5 8NJ.

Other FoodCycle Yorkshire and The Humber locations:

FoodCycle Sheffield Broomhall every Wednesday from 12.30pm at Broomhall Centre on Broomspring Lane, S10 2FD

FoodCycle Hull Marfleet every Thursday from 6.30pm at Marfleet Community Centre, Rear of 22-24 Swanfield Rd, Hull, HU9 4PX

FoodCycle Leeds Seacroft every Tuesday from 6.30pm at Chapel FM Arts Centre on York Road LS14 6JB

FoodCycle Leeds Beeston and Holbeck every Wednesday from 6.30pm at St Luke's Church, Malvern Road, Holbeck, Leeds, LS118PD

FoodCycle Leeds Harehills every Thursday at 6.30pm at St Aidan's Church, Roundhay Road, LS8 5QD

To sign up as a volunteer or for more information on FoodCycle CLICK HERE or email

*WRAP meal equivalent