Foodcycle Volunteers preparing food for guests

The Charity Tackling Food Poverty, Loneliness, And Food Waste

As Cost of Living Crisis continues - FOODCYCLE launches an 8th COMMUNITY MEAL in the North East this year
August 20, 2023

You might already know that we're huge fans of Foodcycle at Mag North - but it isn't just us...last week Jungle Queen, podcaster, author & feminist Vicky Pattinson spent some time helping out at a Newcastle project - to shout about this incredible charity that aims to make food poverty, loneliness, and food waste a thing of the past.

After spending the day with fellow volunteers, Vicky was 'buzzing': “I was super excited to spend the day at FoodCycle Walker to help out with the weekly community meal. I grew up literally round the corner from here and I’m very proud of where I’m from. I feel like now, more so than ever, its super important that those that can are helping others. Today has been incredible, to see the work that is going on in my region. It’s inspirational and I’m very proud to have been involved.”

Celebrity Vicky Pattinson at FoodCycle Walker
Vicky Pattinson At FoodCycle Walker

And elsewhere in the North East, the volunteer claxon is sounding again as it Foodcycle opens its doors to welcome the locals of Sunderland Ashbrooke. This is FoodCycle’s eighth opening in the North-East and its sixth in Tyne & Wear - a reflection of the vital need for services like this as people across the region continue to be affected by the cost-of-living crisis.  

Foodcycle Volunteers Serving Delicious Food
A Couple Of The Utterly Fantastic Foodcycle Volunteers

Launching on 19th September at the United Reformed Church on Stockton Road, the weekly free meal provides great food and conversation every Tuesday at 12.30pm for anyone who wants to come along.

FoodCycle North-East Regional Manager, Lou Green says: ”We are thrilled to be opening our eighth Project in the region, introducing FoodCycle to the Sunderland 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 warm space, friendly chat and a nutritious meal to anyone in the community who needs it every week, 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. 

And FoodCycle Needs You:

FoodCycle Sunderland Ashbrooke 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.

Guests Paul, Mark And Lisa

Long-term North-East FoodCycle Volunteer, JP says; “The thing that strikes me the most every time I’m part of a FoodCycle meal is the social aspect. I love that anyone can come. We’re not just slapping a plate of food in front of someone, we create a nice cosy café feel and everyone gets a cup of tea when they arrive and three courses of nutritious vegetarian food made from surplus food donated by local businesses. I get so much out of it, for my own mental health and being able to give time to others plus working as a team with the other volunteers.”

FoodCycle’s free community meals are open to all, 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.

The free weekly meal at FoodCycle Sunderland Ashbrooke takes place every Tuesday at 12.30pm at Stockton Road United Reformed Church, Stockton Road, Sunderland, SR2 7DD

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