As part of our on-going commitment to support vulnerable households reeling from the impact of COVID-19, Hubbub has launched Food Connect – a new service in Milton Keynes.  Food Connect will use fleets of electric bikes and electric vans to redistribute surplus food from retailers, manufacturers and suppliers to those who need it, helping to tackle increased food insecurity. Our recent public polling revealed that nearly 1 in 5 people in the UK are concerned about access to free food during lockdown, resulting in growing demand on services provided by food banks and community fridges. 

Since the beginning of lockdown, a partnership of organisations in Milton Keynes including Fareshare, NGOs, councils and a network of community fridges and hubs have been delivering food packages to those who are struggling to access food due to low incomes or restrictions on travelThe scheme is coordinated from the Old Bath House Community Centre, home to one of our first community fridgesOne of the challenges the groups have faced is how to collect and distribute the food that is available in a way that is safe and reliable.   

Food Connect will fill this vital logistical challenge, helping to cut food waste and provide healthy food to hundreds of households in need of support.  As we emerge from lockdown and community fridges re-open, Food Connect will continue to redistribute surplus food within the community, in whatever way best serves local needHubbub is hoping that this initial trial will prove successful enabling it to further expand in Milton Keynes and across the UK.   

It is an ambition that is shared by the coalition of funders backing the experiment, including CAF Venturesome, The National Lottery Community Fund, and Milton Keynes Council through the eCargo Bike Grant Fund, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered by Energy Saving Trust 

The environmental sustainability of the campaign is crucial for Hubbub.  Not only will Food Connect reduce food waste, but it is also using electric vehicles, creating less air pollution.  Hubbub research found that 62% of Brits have noticed cleaner air as a result of lockdown and they would like to see this continue long-term. The growing use of electric vehicles will help to reduce urban air pollution, and reduce the risks faced by people with existing health problems, potentially also helping to reduce the most severe impact of COVID-19. 

Hubbub will be evaluating the impact of Food Connect over the next six months and will openly share results with the ambition of extending the franchise to other locations.  Businesses and organisations interested in supporting and collaborating in the next phase should visit www.foodconnect.io    

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Hubbub is running a series of virtual workshops exploring a fairer, more sustainable UK as we recover from COVID19. Join the conversation and find out about what else we've got planned. RSVP to [email protected] to reserve your place.

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