Blog | neighbourly

Becoming a neighbourly society - the time is now


Now, more than ever, we’re hearing about the huge, ever-expanding gaps in UK public services that are going to need an army of new volunteers if the provision is to continue. Volunteers Week 2017 has rightly brought more of this crisis to our attention – after all, the week is (or should be) as much about recruiting new volunteers as it is celebrating and thanking existing ones.

As this Guardian article states, volunteers are now running libraries, maintaining parks and staffing hospital reception desks due to austerity cuts, and whilst this is worth and estimated £23bn a year in economic value, it’s still nowhere near enough. And the extent of charities’ work in delivering frontline services keeps on increasing. Included in the essential services run by the charitable sector are ambulance services, housing, health & social care, probation, community transport, mental health and search and rescue – to name a few.

The dream – where neighbourly communities are built with residents, companies, local government teams, charities and community projects, all working in unison like a well-oiled machine – seems ever further from reach. Delivering resources into places that they are needed, building funds where they are depleted and diverting helping hands to where they can help shouldn’t be so difficult. But it is.

Many of these problems could be helped if we, as a whole society, could more easily draw upon our neighbourly values and lend support within our means to ensure everyone not just survives but thrives. We are given some glimpses of hope – The Charities Aid Foundation’s annual UK Giving report, for instance, says that 89% of people “did something charitable” in 2016, including volunteering, which is a huge hike from 79% in 2015.

Official figures are less encouraging though. People reporting having formally volunteered at least once a month – through a group, club or organisation – has flatlined since the turn of the century, standing in the last Cabinet Office survey of 2015-16 at 14.2 million, or 27% of the adult population. Informal volunteering – helping people who are not relatives and doing so not through a group, club or organisation, at least monthly – stood at 18 million, or 34% of the population, in 2015-16. These numbers have stayed broadly unchanged since 2000.

But perhaps it is not a lack of desire, rather a logistical minefield, that stops more of us from contributing. What are we permitted to do? How should we organise ourselves?

And what about companies in all of this? The Guardian article states that ‘charities will have to do much of the heavy lifting on this themselves’ – the 2015 legislation promise of three days’ paid volunteering leave annually for all public-sector workers and those private companies with 250+ staff, remains unfulfilled (and isn’t in the Tory 2017 programme). Regardless of legislation, many businesses have already bought in to the well-documented ‘employee volunteering business case’ and there has been an astronomic increase in UK companies (large ones at least) engaging in some form of employee volunteering. However, The London Benchmarking Group reported that the average proportion of employees engaging in employee volunteering in their member firms was 19 per cent last year, but often uptake is much lower.

There’s clearly a multitude of barriers. Whilst participating companies do advertise the opportunities, it isn’t always enough to turn employees into volunteers. They need to understand what they can learn, the impact they can have and how it will make them feel. Some companies we speak to say they have tried to make this work but their employees felt they didn't want to take the entitlement because they didn't know what opportunities were available and what the business really wanted them to do with the days.

But we think there’s another major factor at play – and one that is not just related to the giving of time. Again and again we come across a snag with company contributions. VAT regulations on product donations, Health and Safety regulations around volunteering, not to mention the complexities of insurance. And of course, the legislation associated with passing on food to those in need, makes these human things extremely worrisome (and in some cases a complete blocker) for the companies that do want to contribute.

The Good Samaritans Act is an interesting concept. It takes many forms across the globe, but if you look at the US, where all 50 states have some type of Good Samaritan law, individuals currently have protection when they lend a hand in an emergency. Put simply, if you see someone in trouble and you stop to help, but inadvertently do more harm than good, you are protected from being sued.

Could the principles of this act be extended more broadly in the UK to companies to take some of the shackles off? Can we become a society where if we see a need and we want to help, then we can have a go – being sensible in our decisions and careful and respectful in delivery of course – but free from the fear of repercussions?

Something has to change, for sure. Let’s have a look at Edelman’s 17th annual trust and credibility survey: ‘We are experiencing a total collapse in trust in the institutions that shape our society.’ Trust in the UK is at a historic low at 29 per cent. There is an unprecedented feeling that life is not as fair as it used to be. And sadly, only one in nine of the UK population think that the system still works.

Business needs to lead, and be free to do so. The rewards could be huge – our recent research showed employer led volunteering as resoundingly positive (7+ out of 10 - from the individuals taking part). Those who volunteered with their company trust other people and companies more than those who haven’t, and are more likely to recommend their company to a friend. On top of this, the research shows they are happier and more satisfied with life.

Clearly Marks and Spencer get it: this week 7000 M&S colleagues from over 650 stores and offices will be donating their time and skills to over 700 local community projects. Their new Plan A 2025 #SpenditWell community transformation programme will support 1,000 communities, help 10 million people live happier, healthier lives and convert M&S into a zero-waste business.

There is, very definitely, huge untapped potential, a willingness to contribute and a glut of resources. Take a look at our Twitter feed if you ever need a reminder of the undying spirit of neighbourliness that defines our communities. Or this story of supermarket workers from Sainsbury’s donating food to police officers in the recent London Bridge attacks.

Let’s make the fabric of our society and the ownership of it a shared challenge where we all have and equal hand in helping it flourish.


Content Manager

Jun 8, 2017

Food waste: How we can accelerate the pace of change


The problem of food waste in England is piling up. If the case hadn’t already been made strongly enough, Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has labelled the economic, environmental and social effects as ‘grotesque’. Its recently published report on Food Waste in England was brought forward as the election was called, and they ask their successor committee to return to the issue, but it still makes for a clarion call to action to tackle the problem of food waste.

For all of us seeking to reduce food waste and to support redistribution there are important points to understand and respond to, which I’ve set out here. And there are areas where the report could go further to take on the problem, in my view, to accelerate the pace of change.

The report shows that there are real challenges in how the waste system is currently set up. The accepted waste hierarchy puts reduction first, then redistribution, and then way to dispose of unused food. But in practice the incentives either aren’t known or don’t exist to the level needed to enforce this structure in practice. Along with publicising the current incentives, there is an interesting recommendation for a fund to be set up. What this adds up to is the need for a business case to be built. It simply has to make more sense to reduce first, then redistribute food, not only because it is irrefutably the right thing to do, but because it makes for good business.

Then there is the issue of more and better data and transparency. One of things we’ve always stood for at Neighbourly is the transparency of donations. We’re working with our clients on more and better data for redistribution. The sheer weight of data and the reality that it wasn’t necessarily set up to report what we need means we have a mountain to climb. It’s an area that would benefit from real investment and cross industry collaboration.

It’s also very positive to see that WRAP and the work of Courtauld 2025 gets support. The Food Surplus Redistribution Working Group of Courtauld 2025 is a positive, collaborative effort. But Courtauld needs to be allowed to drive a strong vision and go a lot faster. The support that the Committee asks for WRAP can give it the resources it needs to accelerate its work. And extending the membership to include more manufacturers, as well as strengthening the commitment itself, can only be a good thing.

There are some critical sections of the report for food charities too, which deserved to make the recommendations more clearly. Our research with the Food Foundation, which formed part of our co-hosted seminar with the Food Standards Agency showed a snapshot of the critical capacity gaps charities face. Our FundAFridge campaign, kindly supported by Lidl, helped around 50 charities get a new fridge or freezer, helping them keep food safe and fresher for longer. 

Charities can also get funds and volunteers for their work, as well as food, through Neighbourly. This kind of support is critical, and there are many ways to support, for example the Committee talks about how haulage companies can help with the transport challenges. What we need to see is a Government supported campaign to get more support and resources to food charities for the incredible work they do, and companies who can help in so many ways from transport providers, to volunteers with logistics, data or marketing skills, to community fundraisers, corralling to creatively help address these gaps. 

It’s time for us all to focus our energy behind this issue. The case has been made, the need is clear, so let’s unlock some of this latent potential and take on the problem together.

Find out about distributing your surplus through Neighbourly.

Want to join our scheme as a food recipient? Email food@neighbourly.com

Steve Haines

Head of Community Engagement

May 2, 2017

The story of surplus: The Whitechapel Centre, Liverpool


A hot breakfast is a big deal for those who visit the Whitechapel Centre, Liverpool’s leading homeless and housing charity.

Many people who use the centre are sleeping rough, and it gives them a chance to make a positive change and find a way out of homelessness. Whitechapel offers a wealth of services to help get people back on track, such as advice on housing and employment, and they also provide basic facilities – including a lovely hot breakfast.

A simple morning meal – which the centre provides every day – may not sound like much, but can really help. Being homeless already leads to increased levels of stress and anxiety, and being low on sustenance can make this state of mind even worse. It’s not just a myth that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Just providing some protein can help people feel more alert, calm and receptive. Better yet, a meal is a gesture of kindness that some vulnerable individuals haven’t experienced in some time. Post shower, breakfast and putting on some clean clothes, those that have dropped in may be more likely to open up and explain what their needs are.

And there’s another perk to this breakfast, and the other meals the centre provides throughout the day - it’s made with surplus food. Neighbourly has now redistributed over one million meals to charities like the Whitechapel Centre through its platform, with the scheme donating between 90,000 and 100,000 meals every month. Nearly 20% of the charities or groups picking up the food are homeless services.

Retailers like Marks and Spencer post their unsold food, allowing charities to choose what they need and then pick it up. Charities can also create alerts for particular items they need.

The White Chapel Centre picks up food everyday, with any excess being distributed further to other hostels and agencies.

Project lead for the White Chapel Centre, Sheila Farrelly, says she has good relationships with managers at the various stores. Each night’s surplus is different, she says – an example offering being fruit, bread, pastries and some tinned food – but whatever turns up, receiving the donation really makes a difference. “There isn’t always a budget for food,” Sheila explains. “It’s often last on the list… so any financial donations they can get they can use for something else.” Take the breakfast that the centre provides every morning. Even if you spent £30 a week on bread, that’s in the region of £1,500 a year, Sheila notes – and that doesn’t include fruit and other items.

And Sheila points out that the surplus they receive is “nice food”. Only a couple of weeks ago, she took some of the Marks and Spencer managers to meet some of lads at one of the hostels connected with the Whitechapel Centre, who shared how much they appreciated the food. Having a Marks and Spencer cake is a real luxury for those in hostels, says Sheila . “When they were living on the streets they were going through bins, and now they’re sitting back with a cup of coffee and a good quality pastry or a cake.”

And food is just the beginning – the centre wants to help people find a home and learn the life skills needed for independent living. But having a good meal is certainly an important step.

About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can donate time, money or surplus food.

Currently, the Neighbourly Food scheme sees between 90,000 and 100,000 meals donated per month.

Charities: join us! You can get your free project page started here

Businesses: email us about redistributing your surplus on hello@neighbourly.com


Content Manager

Apr 4, 2017

The story of surplus: City Harvest London


City Harvest’s refrigerated vans are greeted with excitement – that’s because they’re bringing some of London’s best food produce to help serve up a healthy and nutritious meal to those who need it.

“The chefs at soup kitchens and other community food programmes take as much pride in their cooking as chefs at any restaurant,” says Laura Winningham, City Harvest London’s CEO. “They appreciate good food, fresh produce and the chance to enable people facing adversity to eat great meals with dignity.”

And City Harvest is just one of the recipients who’s had a share of Neighbourly’s one million meals – that’s over 930 tonnes of surplus food that the platform has redistributed. Neighbourly’s technology links retailers with surplus to organisations that need it, helping to keep perfectly edible food out of the bin and into hungry bellies.

The food that City Harvest collects and ultimately delivers in the community enables these chefs to “work with fantastic ingredients, that otherwise would have gone to waste, and for people to get nourished and turn their lives around.”

Launched in the capital in 2014, the non-profit distributes to organisations that feed the hungry, from homeless shelters and soup kitchens to after school programs and centres for veterans.

Among other donors, Marks and Spencer helps City Harvest put high quality food on the table, and the technology has made this process simple and efficient, says Winningham.

Crucially, the surplus alerts - detailing what foods are available - give City Harvest a chance to do some advanced planning. “Each charity recipient has unique food needs and dietary requirements so we need to allocate food accordingly. When food donors don’t give us advanced notice, it is more challenging for our drivers on their routes.”

M&S stores across London alert City Harvest’s logistics team whenever food is available – usually several times per week - and then drivers add these deliveries to their daily routes. Just one City Harvest van delivers 1,000 meals each day.

Winningham says that technology is an important step in valuing food in the circular economy in London. “By the end of the day, this nutritious food that might have been wasted has been delivered to deeply appreciative community meal programs and served in meals to vulnerable individuals whose lives are enhanced by the donations.”

Surplus food donations have enabled City Harvest to feed thousands of people nutritious meals and continue to add more routes across London. “As we do this we hope to connect with more stores and make an even greater impact.”

And it’s important to City Harvest’s drivers too, with many having at some point experienced adversity, food poverty or homelessness. “Our drivers appreciate the high quality of food collected and are proud to be making the deliveries,” says Winningham.

Not only does this help the charities that City Harvest delivers to keep food budgets down, but these funds can be redirected into other vital services for their clients.

About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can donate time, money or surplus food.

Currently, the Neighbourly Food scheme sees between 90,000 and 100,000 meals donated per month.

Charities: join us! You can get your free project page started here

Businesses: email us about redistributing your surplus on hello@neighbourly.com


Content Manager

Apr 4, 2017

The story of surplus: Clifton Green Primary Snack Shack


In the playground outside Clifton Green Primary School, children and grown-ups alike are enjoying some freshly-made onion soup. At this time of year, soup is a regular offering, as are French bread pizzas, baskets of fruits or vegetables along with yesterday's bread - which can be turned into garlic bread, or just taken home to toast.

These are all typical bites at the York school’s pop-up Snack Shack run by children and parents at the school. Kids and grown-ups can pick up a healthy snack to take on their way home, giving a Pay As You Feel donation – whether that’s parents popping some pennies in pot, or perhaps spending an hour reading with the children in school or helping with the chickens. The idea is that money shouldn’t be a barrier, and any money that is raised helps subsidise the cost of school trips.

Not only do the kids run the stall, but they also make and design the food, giving students a glimpse into the exciting world of cooking and retail, and providing some handy life skills.

The Snack Shack feeds around 100-150 pupils per week, and best of all, from food that would otherwise be wasted. Food that has reached its 'display until' date is collected and transformed into great snacks to eat after school, giving children a chance to learn how to make food using ingredients otherwise destined for the bin.

Using the Neighbourly platform, which has now distributed over one million meals to around 620 charities and groups like Clifton Green, the primary school is connected to retailers with surplus food. The school can set up alerts to find out what’s available and arrange collection.

The project wouldn’t be sustainable – or as successful – as it is without this surplus food, says food development manager at Clifton Green, Lisa Green. What began as an enterprise initiative for the school’s Year 6 children has now become a valued project. “People have come to expect to see The Snack Shack set up. Many children have tasted food and ingredients that are new to them. It also encourages a sense or spirit of recipe sharing and a shared love of food.”

The school receives food twice a week, depending on availability. Parents and children in years five and six run the Snack Shack, bringing the school together and creating a sense of community, as well as cutting costs at home. It has had great feedback from parents, who say the children value the responsibility and get a sense of working life, says Green.

By running the Snack Shack, the school’s children and grown-ups have better access to a variety of fresh food - some of which they might not have tasted before. According to some reports, most children don’t get their recommended five a day. “We hope that it intercepts some of the less healthy foods that we sometimes eat when we are hungry.”

And it’s just as good for the parents an teachers, too. Parent Adeola who helps run Snack Shack said, “being involved with the Snack Shack has helped me to meet a lot of new people; it helps to break down barriers. Food brings everyone's love out.”


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can donate time, money or surplus food.

Currently, the Neighbourly Food scheme sees between 90,000 and 100,000 meals donated per month.

Charities: join us! You can get your free project page started here

Businesses: email us about redistributing your surplus on hello@neighbourly.com


Content Manager

Apr 4, 2017

10 ways to use up bread


Whether we’re grabbing a sandwich in our lunch hour or having a cheeky slice of buttered toast after a night out, us Brits love bread. It seems strange then that bread is the most wasted food here in the UK. Nearly half of us eat bread every day, yet we throw away 24 million slices of bread every day. Worse yet, one in five of us have thrown a loaf away without even opening it.

But, as the old saying goes, it doesn’t have to be this way. With these few basic tips you can give your loaf the longest life possible, get creative and also have some fun with it.

1.   Freeze it

If you have a decent sized freezer, you can have your bread and eat it – simply take a slice out and pop it in the toaster whenever you fancy it. Waste avoided. If you have a look in your supermarket’s reduced section, it’s quite possible to spend mere pence on a loaf to save some cash. If it’s an un-sliced loaf, slice before freezing.

On a side note, putting it in the fridge actually makes it go off quicker.

2.   Bread and butter pudding

Mop up those sad slices of old bread by whipping up a bread and butter pudding. There are various takes on it, but this easy recipe says you can prep it in five minutes. Throw in your bread with some fridge and cupboard essentials and voila – perfect comfort food.

3.   Breadcrumbs

If your kids leave their crusts, or you don't like those end bits, here’s a perfect ways to use them up. Pop them in a food processor to transform them into a versatile ingredient. Impressive on mac’n’cheese, breadcrumbs are also handy as a binding ingredient to make your own burgers. Thicken a soup into a filling meal or throw them into an easy meatloaf. If ever there was an excuse to get creative in the kitchen, this is one.

4.   French Toast

Does a better way exist to cheer everyone up on a lazy Sunday morning than French toast? Grab your bread, egg, milk and the vanilla extract and cinnamon from the back of the cupboard, dip then fry. Tres bon.

5.   Croutons

Cheer up any salad or pasta dish (and impress your friends) with homemade croutons. Chop, oil and fry cubes of bread or pop them in the oven for a few minutes and they’ll be good for a few days. Why not make them chunkier for a Bruschetta style base? Top with mozzarella, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil for a great appetiser.

6.   Ale

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can transform that extra bread into tasty ale. The brilliant Toast Ale have kindly open-sourced their recipe to encourage bread waste-busting home brewers.

7.   Toast 2.0

Now’s your chance to take things to the next level: if you’ve never really got on the avocado toast bandwagon, this is the time to dip your toe. What about peanut butter and banana for an energy-boosting snack? Or peanut butter and Nutella for a delicious, Reese’s Cups-inspired dessert. Then there's always poached egg and spinach. Or simply channel your inner Paddington bear and let loose with the marmalade. The possibilities are endless.

8.   Stuffing

Give stale bread a seat at the holiday table by teaming it with an onion and plenty of seasoning to make a delicious stuffing. Good inside or outside a turkey.

9.   Cheese fondue

Be like the Swiss and get on the phone to your cheese loving friends pronto. Tear or cut your bread into chunks and this 15-minute no-fuss recipe will get you a bubbling pot of cheese fondue in no time.

10. Bread sauce

Bread that is a bit dried out or stale also makes the best Sunday dinner sauce. You don't have to wait for Christmas - double cream, a bay leaf and a bit of onion elevate a simple bread sauce to something great for any roast poultry dinner. Try this easy french bread sauce if you have a french stick that is past its best.


About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can donate time, money or surplus food. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.

Charities: get your project started here

Businesses: email us about memberships on hello@neighbourly.com

Supporters & volunteers: sign up to be part of the Neighbourly network here - or simply find a project you care about and share it to help spread the word!


Content Manager

Mar 30, 2017

Lidl and M&S on how Neighbourly is helping them tackle food waste

Lidl UK recently signed up as the second major retail partner for Neighbourly, joining Marks & Spencer (M&S) which is nearly two years into its partnership with the social venture. The Drum catches up with them about how it's going and why this isn't about marketing.

Read the full Drum article here.


Content Manager

Mar 9, 2017

A word of thanks


Our food redistribution scheme has been going from strength to strength and we were delighted recently to be able to officially announce our partnership with Lidl UK as they roll out their new food surplus scheme with Neighbourly across their 600+ stores. 

The most rewarding part, though, is when we hear from the projects themselves about where the food surplus is going, how it’s getting used and how it is helping to improve the lives of the local communities surrounding these stores. 

We receive lots of lovely messages about the scheme, but we recently received a letter from the Birchwood project in Skelmersdale that really made us proud. The project helps give young people at risk of homelessness a place to live and stay safe, enjoy life and achieve their goals. With their permission, we’re sharing the letter with you, and we hope it brings a smile to you face, just like it did ours. If you’d like to support the Birchwood project, give their page a follow on neighbourly, or share this article below. 

“So, where do we start? It’s really tough to put into words how grateful we are at Birchwood that you decided to help us. Your donation of food that is heading for waste is amazing, really. It’s fan-flipping-tastic and it is the type of thing that helps restore our faith in humanity and the wonderful things people can do when they’re willing. And you were willing - and for that we say “thank you!” and offer you a big, massive Birchwood hug.
As you will already know, Birchwood is a charity that helps young people and the wider community who have suffered challenges and setbacks in their lives. Yet these people are just that - people - and we’re determined to give them a bunk up over the wall that’s been placed in front of them.
The Junk Food Café started as a result of your help, and your food donations are really important – they help us not only reduce food poverty and protect the environment but also build important relationships to help change lives. Remember when you were young, and you wanted to climb that huge, green tree at the end of your garden, but needed a friend to give you a leg up over that wall. We’re that friend giving them a step up to get over hurdles and climb the tree of life for themselves. The more excellent organisations like Neighbourly, Lidl and Marks & Spencer can help, the more branches they have to grab on to further up the tree.
Here’s what a single young mum with 3 children said about how the scheme has helped:
‘I am going to go home and make some vegetable soup, with loads of bread and butter a fruit salad and put a bunch of flowers on the table for me and the kids. Instead of gate crashing my mum’s again. I think she is getting sick of it! Thanks, you are a life saver’
You see, it doesn’t matter what we say to you from our Birchwood Centre, or what we ask of you. All that matters is the change companies and people like yourself make and how totally grateful our communities and the people we work with are. The rest is just noise.
Here we are, at the end of our letter. It’s been emotional. We hope you can continue to help us help others in their quest to change their lives. Until we next speak to you again, we say: Thank you, we’re absolutely made up that you’ve helped.
From the whole Birchwood Team, lots of love x”

About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can donate time, money or surplus. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.

For charities that need surplus food email: food@neighbourly.com

For businesses that would like to donate surplus food email: hello@neighbourly.com

Sign up to be part of the Neighbourly network here.

Feb 23, 2017

What can be done about sandwiches - one of our highest wasting products?


When John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, an 18th-century English aristocrat, ordered his valet to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread, so he could continue playing cards, he couldn’t have known what a hit his invention was going to be. Not only did his fellow card players order “the same as Sandwich”, but today that enthusiasm has grown to Britons consuming a staggering three and a half billion sandwiches a year, made by 300,000 people employed in the sandwich industry in the UK.

However, sandwiches are one of our highest wasting products, because of the unpredictable demand from all of us consumers, depending on what the weather is like or what filling we fancy on the day. Estimates put the amount of wastage at around 5%. My maths puts that at 175 million uneaten sandwiches.

Some retailers, like Pret A Manger have taken action, handing out their uneaten stock at the end of each day to people who need them, and Greggs filling solidarity fridges. These solutions point us in the right direction, but they’re not always suitable for retailers, for example those where ‘food on the go’ is only part of their offer.  And sandwiches are a particularly difficult item to manage.  Their short shelf lives and need to be kept chilled to make sure they are safe to eat, means that they have to move fast or go to waste. 

What can be done? Last year, Neighbourly co-hosted an industry seminar with the Food Foundation and the Food Standards Agency to find ways to manage this problem, looking at issues such as best before dates. It complemented similar work by the FSA and the British Sandwich and Food on the Go Association to look at the issue of sandwiches in particular.

Recently, new guidance has been given to sandwich retailers that allows them to test for safety in store. This could save up to 2000 tonnes, or about 280 double decker buses filled with sandwiches, from going to waste.  If we take the opportunity to drive this into common practice, it could have the transformational impact that the familiar Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive has had on environmental collection, treatment, recovery, recycling and disposal of electrical and electronic equipment.  Working together to champion the issue, we can spark a movement where retailers not just entertain this issue but take on the challenge with more confidence. 

But that’s not the end of the story. As Jim Winship, Director of the British Sandwich and Food on the Go Association says “retailers and the charities they support will now need to establish the practical means to deliver surplus foods to those who need them.”

And that’s where Neighbourly comes in. Our unique platform sends alerts from retailers to matched local charities with food hygiene training, to take food to a huge range of people who need it, from children’s breakfast clubs, to hospices, to homeless shelters. We give retailers a more scaleable, traceable solution, with exportable, shareable data. 

And we can complement the good intentions of retailers with opportunities to engage communities and support food charities delivering the vital work of surplus redistribution.  Charities can use our volunteering function to get the people they need and gain financial and in-kind support through our innovative campaigns like #FundAFridge (recently supported by Lidl UK).

Having enough good food to eat and making sure we don’t waste all those marvellous sandwiches is a bread and butter issue.  Thankfully we now have both the safety guidance and the way of connecting surplus to be able to waste less and feed more people.

About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can donate time, money or surplus. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.

For charities that need surplus food email: food@neighbourly.com

For businesses that would like to donate surplus food email: hello@neighbourly.com

Sign up to be part of the Neighbourly network here.

Steve Haines

Head of Community Engagement

Feb 7, 2017

Lidl partners with Neighbourly on national roll-out to redistribute up to 2 million meals a year


I’m delighted to reveal that Lidl UK has announced the launch of their national food redistribution programme and support of #FundAFridge in partnership with Neighbourly. This will see all Lidl stores across England, Scotland and Wales donating food surplus to local food charities helping to feed people in need, equalling up to 2 million meals a year.

This national rollout follows a highly successful eight-week pilot that helped to feed more than 3,400 people across community centres, elderly day care centres, housing support projects and children’s centres in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Our food team will be linking each Lidl store, region by region, with partner charities that will be able to collect edible food surplus directly from the stores each day. The first 100 stores will be fully active by the end of April 2017, with remaining stores joining the programme throughout the year and into early 2018.

Alongside this commitment Lidl is the first retailer to sign up to our #FundAFridge campaign, donating over 100 fridges and freezers to projects that struggle with storage for the food donations that they receive. This will help improve their ability to safely store donated food, increase their capacity to sustainably manage more surplus and in turn, provide more meals for those who need them.

For us though, the most exciting part of this partnership is not just about Lidl’s adoption of a model aiming to change how the supermarket industry deals with the redistribution of surplus, but a step towards a more holistic solution for community partners – which is long overdue. As well as matching Lidl with local food projects, and campaigns like #FundAFridge, Neighbourly will be working to attract volunteers to help redistribute food surplus on a daily basis, reducing transportation costs for the projects taking part.

Our thanks go to the Lidl head office and project team that worked on the pilot and have helped to get this programme off the ground. Have a watch of this video from the Scunthorpe pilot to find out more about the impact the scheme is having on local communities.

Email lidl@neighbourly.com to register your food project.

Sign up to be part of the Neighbourly network here.

If you'd like to donate surplus food please get in touch at hello@neighbourly.com

About Neighbourly

Neighbourly matches charity and community projects with people and companies that can donate time, money or surplus. Get support by creating and sharing a project or give support by following, donating or giving a day to volunteer.

Nick Davies


Jan 24, 2017