Investing in our volunteers with the National Lottery Community Fund

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO

29 May 2019

Large grants are absolutely vital for charities like FareShare. They allow us to plan for the future so we can grow in a way that’s sustainable, and deliver lasting impact now and in the longer term.

FareShare takes good quality surplus food from the food industry and redistributes it via a network of frontline charities across the UK. Through the National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF) grant, National Lottery players are investing in FareShare’s most vital resource, its volunteers.

Describing volunteers as the driving force behind of FareShare is no exaggeration. These capable, passionate people make up more than two thirds of FareShare. They pack, sort, take orders, and then deliver surplus food to frontline charities. Many of them are deeply involved in the communities we serve, and the benefit of their local insight is just as vital to our operations as their time and enthusiasm.

Already the National Lottery Community funding has made a noticeable difference to FareShare. With new Volunteer Managers in place throughout the network, we’ve been able to recruit and train hundreds more volunteers, getting over 25% more food out to charities in just one year.

Volunteers are key to increasing our capacity, but it’s important to note that, to maximize their contribution, we must support volunteers to achieve their full potential. Our recent survey found 77% of our volunteers told us they’ve gained new skills in warehousing and 64% have grown in confidence since joining FareShare. Many of our volunteers have gone on to secure paid employment, either at FareShare or other organisations. FareShare Yorkshire’s employability scheme, run by their volunteer manager, has helped 72 local people who’d been previously struggling to find work. FareShare Tayside and Fife have been able to open up new delivery routes and serve an additional seven charities in the area.  And this is just the start. FareShare’s new Volunteer Managers are forming partnerships with charities, colleges and businesses in their area, creating more volunteering opportunities and more routes into work.

Our targets are ambitious. In just three years we want to increase the amount of food we redistribute to frontline charities by an incredible 73%. But we believe that, with the support of partners like the National Lottery Community Fund, and a concerted push to develop, learn from and grow our UK-wide volunteer team, we can dramatically scale up the amount of food we redistribute, delivering enormous social benefit.