Wirral scheme uses surplus supermarket food to feed struggling families

The food would otherwise end up in landfill.

A scheme has been set up taking food from local supermarkets destined for landfill and giving it to kids and families struggling to eat.

The Wirral-based scheme, which started in September, has already saved 150kg from going to landfill and helped at least 200 families during the cost of living crisis.

Every night food is collected from local Tescos and Co-ops, sorted and then dropped off, collected by people, or given to schools.

At the Windsor Community Centre, near Port Sunlight in Bebington, people are also able to come and collect food as well as have tea, coffee or a chat between 10 and 11am on Fridays.

One Wirral Council employee, who uses the scheme said it meant he was able to feed his family despite being on “a good salary.”

He said: “I have been here since it started. I used to go to another one but it just became unaffordable for us. This place opened up so we started to come here instead.

“The wage I get just goes on bills and I get paid quite well. Bread is always useful as you can freeze it as well. We can get fruit as well as vegetables, which can then be made into soup. It’s all essential stuff really.”

Brenda Ashton, a volunteer, said a lot of community support was lost during Covid, adding “this is just building that back up again.”

The scheme takes food that has passed its best before date but is still within its use by date so it can’t be sold but is still edible. People are able to take as much as they want, with things like birthday cakes and flowers sometimes on offer.

Cllr Sue Percy, who set up the scheme in Wirral, said she hopes to expand it. She said the food would otherwise go to landfill and collects the food every night with her husband.

She started collecting from supermarkets after she noticed “a real need for people when it came to accessing food” since becoming councillor earlier this year, adding she was seeing people in work as well as school staff taking food.

Cllr Percy has also used some of her ward allowance as a councillor to get a fridge and a freezer at Grove Street School so they can take items that need to be kept cool. She said: “It’s about the community, it’s not about politics.”

There are environmental benefits too. Cllr Percy said: “It’s perfectly edible. Why let it go to landfill when it can be used by the community? There are two reasons why I’ve done it, to stop the environmental impact but also to help people.”