U21 RISE winners offer crucial support during coronavirus outbreak

Across the globe, members of the U21 network are working hard in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, from research and expert guidance to frontline support. We spoke to one of the winning teams of U21's RISE Awards to learn how the Foodprint social supermarket and redistribution network is providing a vital community service during this crisis.

Store shelves
The team has rearranged the store to enable social distancing

"Foodprint is a social supermarket and redistribution network run entirely by University of Nottingham students. We sell and redistribute food which was otherwise going to end up in landfill but which is still perfectly good to eat. Under normal circumstances, our store in Sneinton, Nottingham opens at the weekends and sells food at subsidised prices.

Throughout the coronavirus crisis, due to the uncertainty of food supply, our store hasn’t been able to open consistently, however, our redistribution team has been working hard to expand our network in order to get food out to the local community. The area where the store operates is one of the most deprived areas in the UK which is why our work has to continue and why we are so integral to the local community.

Vital food supplies sourced from local businesses

The coronavirus pandemic, through being an ever changing situation, has meant that we have been thrown many curve balls. This has resulted in many urgent team meetings and discussions on how to proceed to ensure that our customers get the low cost food which they rely on whilst protecting the safety of our volunteers and customers through social distancing in our small store. We have had to use trial and error for such unprecedented events and have found that rearranging the store and serving from the door has worked the best.

We managed to get a food supply last weekend and had the store open on Saturday. We had one volunteer manning the payment desk at the door whilst a volunteer went to get the produce and a volunteer ensuring that social distancing was being practiced in the queue outside the store. Our team and volunteers adapted well to the dynamism of the situation and the Sneinton community was so grateful for our service.

Volunteers gather groceries for customers

Throughout the crisis, we have been redistributing food to a homeless shelter, a foodbank and other organisations who are making food for the vulnerable and since school closures, our collaboration with local schools has been vital to making sure children aren’t going hungry throughout this crisis.

Ensuring that everyone is still able to have access to food is essential and we will continue our work to try to enable this. For anyone in the Nottingham [UK] area, we are always looking for volunteers to join our team!

And for anyone wondering how you can help food supplies for the vulnerable in your local area throughout this crisis, you can donate food or make a monetary donation to your local food bank and making sure you only buy what you need during your food shop!"

Izzy Corbett, Foodprint

Reach out to Foodprint: www.foodprint.io / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram  @foodprintio

Watch Foodprint's winning RISE Award video to learn more about the initiative.
Caroline Hetherington