Fare Share Cymru
Redistributing Good Food
Fare Share Cymru is a relatively new entity — just two years old — but is built upon an established and successful model. “Essentially we’re a franchise of the Fare Share charity,” says Guy Boswell, project officer at the organization. “We take surplus food from various sources and then redistribute it within communities across Wales.”
Guy emphasizes that this food is by no means second-quality, or past its "best before" date. Indeed, the charity’s range of sources and suppliers is both surprising and impressive.
“Mainly it is surplus food — for example, we’ve just been offered a batch of cake where the packaging has been printed wrongly, and some earl grey tea fresh from a tasting,” he says. “We have soup that was bound for the NHS — very good food, but that didn’t fulfill NHS criteria for a particular special diet. We take a lot of rice from a Buddhist temple, as another example.
We then distribute all this through local charities. Most of it would be destined for landfill otherwise.”
In essence, this entails a very traditional logistics operation — albeit one that’s operated by a charity, using volunteers. An online stock control system keeps tabs on deliveries and distribution; office systems are run on Microsoft software donated through CTX.
“We bought some PCs when the charity was brand new,” says Guy, “and they came with a cut-down version of Microsoft Office. But we wanted the full version, complete with Access and PowerPoint.”
Fare Share Cymru uses Access to keep small databases of suppliers and volunteers and PowerPoint to facilitate an important side-aspect of the charity.
“Many of our people are ‘traditional’ volunteers — but we also take referrals from the YMCA, the probation service, homeless charities, and others,” says Guy. “So training is a large part of our role, and we use PowerPoint for this — to try to move these people along into the world of work. We’ll provide food hygiene and health and safety training, for example.”