FareShare Greater Manchester hosted a Royal visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in recognition of the charity’s tireless commitment to fighting food waste and hunger through the coronavirus pandemic. 

Their Royal Highnesses arrived at FareShare Greater Manchester in the evening as part of a three-day trip travelling on the Royal Train, in line with government guidance, to visit organisations across the UK which are responding to the Covid-19 crisis and supporting those most in need.

FareShare staff greeted their Royal Highnesses before providing a tour of the warehouse and introducing representatives from key FareShare partners Asda, Kellogg’s, John Lewis and Waitrose, which have been supporting FareShare with funding and diverting surplus food – which would otherwise go to waste – through FareShare’s network of charities for several years.

The Duke and Duchess also met with FareShare volunteers who continue to work tirelessly through challenging conditions to get vital food supplies to the communities who need it most.

Earlier this year, in response to the pandemic and with support from Asda and other partners including England International footballer Marcus Rashford, FareShare Greater Manchester secured an additional warehouse unit – named Melanie Maynard House in honour of Marcus's mother – on the same site. The new warehouse, once refurbished, will enable the charity to more than treble the amount of surplus food it redistributes.

The Duke and Duchess were shown the space for the final part of the visit, where Wayne Ellington and Manchester Inspirational Voices gave a musical performance to a zoom audience of the FareShare network of staff across the UK.

FareShare Greater Manchester – operated by EMERGE - redistributes surplus food, which would otherwise go to waste, onto 250 frontline charities and community groups across the region, including community centres, food banks, school breakfast clubs and homeless shelters.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 and when lockdown measures were first introduced in the UK in March, FareShare has experienced soaring demand and at the peak of the crisis the charity was distributing the equivalent of over 3 million meals to people in need each week across the UK.

Lucy Danger, CEO of EMERGE which operates FareShare Greater Manchester, said: “We are so grateful to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for taking the time to visit our warehouse and meet our team of dedicated staff and volunteers – during what has been an incredibly challenging and difficult time for the people and charities we support.

“The Covid-19 crisis has presented a challenge like nothing we have ever experienced and we continue to work tirelessly to get food to the children, families and individuals who need it most across Greater Manchester and the rest of the UK. It was an honour and a privilege to host Their Royal Highnesses at FareShare Greater Manchester on behalf of the FareShare network across the UK.”

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare Chief Executive, commented: “Following an extraordinarily difficult year for the vulnerable communities that FareShare get vital food supplies to, we are now facing into an even tougher winter.

"The economic impacts of Covid-19 are biting the most vulnerable communities very hard, on top of the terrible health impacts wrought by the virus. FareShare and its incredible volunteers have maintained a full operation throughout the year, to provide over 2 million meals per week to the charitable communities and their clients who need our help, and will continue to do so over winter.

“The very touching visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to FareShare Greater Manchester not only helps to motivate all of us at FareShare, staff and volunteers, to continue to tackle the issues head on, but it helps to continue to shine a light on the lack of access to healthy food faced by many millions of our citizens in this country, whilst good to eat food equivalent to over 1.3 billion meals goes to waste before it reaches our homes or schools.”

To find out more and donate to FareShare Greater Manchester, click here.