Hitting the third lockdown straight after Christmas meant the college building needed to close to students and staff. Having so much to offer usually to our community, we thought long and hard about how we could still help during lockdown. We contacted The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS), a community benefit society and cooperative originally founded by Birmingham City Council, who are helping #Brumtogether with the Big Feed, a project transforming surplus food waste into hundreds of cooked vegan and vegetarian meals each day to distribute across Birmingham.
Our kitchen team sprang into action on 15th February, working in a safe, COVID-secure manner they are currently producing 350 hot meals every week for the Big Feed project. TAWS provide the food each day and the staff transform it into healthy and tasty hot meals to be taken to local venues across Birmingham to help people in need.
“We are so pleased we can put our talents to good use with this project. We introduced a vegan menu to the college last year and haven’t looked back. Being able to provide tasty, much needed food to the local community in a such a sustainable way, using surplus food, has been a real pleasure. It is almost like a TV challenge show where we don’t know what to expect each day and then need to build a menu around it.”Kitchen Manager, Claire Mutchell
Being involved in this project has led to Fircroft becoming part of the Food Justice Network, a partnership campaigning for affordable, nutritious, tasty and sustainable food to be available to those in need across Birmingham. In February, the Big Feed project was able to increase its distribution of hot meals by 41% compared to January, meaning a total of 1767 meals were provided that month, 1131 of which were distributed at a large number of “events” for those in need, held across the city.
“I am very proud of our kitchen team. Sustainability plays a big part in college strategy and this project is a perfect example of how, with a bit of imagination and willing and able teams of people, surplus food can be used to help local people in need. We are one community and it is a pleasure to be working with the Active Wellbeing Society and their partners.”Mel Lenehan, college Principal and CEO
The college will finish this project before the end of March 2021 when it will be beginning a phased return to residential education, to offer the community learning it is so well known for.
For more information about how Fircroft is developing its sustainability activities across the college go to Action on Climate Change.