Cost of living crisis: Peterborough charity facing closure issues plea to continue work supporting food banks

Hundreds of people who rely on food banks in Peterborough could suffer if the charity is forced to stop delivering food this week due to a lack of funding.

By Adam Barker
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 6:00 am

A charity which delivers surplus food destined for landfill to foodbanks across Peterborough is facing closure.

It comes after Cocoa Fowler, founder of Food for Nought, says a lack of funding means it is unable to continue to run its delivery vehicles.

The charity currently delivers six tonnes of food from farms and supermarkets to 12 centres across Peterborough per week, feeding over 1,000 people in need.

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Cocoa Fowler's charity currently delivers six tonnes of food across Peterborough every week.

But this week he is set to make a tough decision whether to suspend delivering supplies to foodbanks from Friday (May 13) as the charity can no longer afford to run its three vans, despite receiving financial support from the foodbanks and centres.

Mr Fowler estimates that fuel for the charity’s vans costs about £3,000 per year and he has now issued an urgent appeal for backing to help the charity survive.

Certificates of recognition don’t put fuel in the tank

“People are still finding it hard to put food in their fridges and in their cupboards,” he said.

Cocoa Fowler at his Food for Nought premises at Gladstone Street.

“If they’re struggling to put food on the table, we have access to excess food which we can give to people but we need funding to be able to do that.

“We’ve fed thousands of people during the pandemic and over the last few years. We’ve had recognition - I’ve got certificates hanging up on my wall from prime ministers and lord mayors - but they don’t put fuel in the tank. They’re only pieces of paper.”

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Food For Nought has plans to create a distribution and community centre at a warehouse it has rented for the last six months in Gladstone Street.

Its application for a £300,000 grant from the National Lottery was unsuccessful and its crowdfunding page, which aimed to raise £20,000, has so far only managed to raise £312.

“We haven’t paid the £500 [per month] rent on the new centre for three months now because we haven’t had the funds to do so,” he said. “We contacted our landlady who has kindly managed to raise the money for us.

"It’s amazing how much people around us believe in what we’re doing. The project is so important to the community.”

‘Children may go without’

Food For Nought has been supplying West Raven Community Cafe, in Hampton Court, with food for over five years.

Manager Christine Nice said that the cafe will be unable to support around 100 people who rely on the free food bags it currently offers if Food For Nought is forced to close.

“We’re here to stop waste,” she said. “We give out food bags every week because this is a deprived area.

“Cocoa and Food For Nought is a big part of what we give to the community - and without them we wouldn’t be able to do it.

“It will affect them in a big way because they won’t be able to get it for free anymore - they will have to go out and buy it. Their children may go without.”

You can donate to save Food For Nought by visiting JustGiving.