From the bottom of my heart, I want to start by thanking everybody who’s taken a part in our project over the last year, whether through your generous donations, the time you’ve volunteered, your contributions to reducing waste, or simply your support online and in person. We couldn’t do what we do without you.
There’s a really exciting 2023 ahead of us, with plans for a 7-day a week warm food hub and social supermarket at the Zero Waste Cafe, but before diving into the year ahead, we wanted to take a moment to remember the highlights of 2022 at Waste Not Want Not Battersea and to give special thanks to all the people and groups that made it possible. At the core of this year’s work, as always, has been saving food from waste and getting it to those who could use it most. Thanks to the combined funding provided by our crowdfunding efforts and Tideway’s Community fund we’ve been collecting unwanted food from our trade partners at the New Covent Garden Market in our van 3 days a week throughout the year and distributing it from the Zero Waste Cafe. We’re also regularly organizing the distribution of prepared food from Marks and Spencer, Whole Foods, Gails, Menu Speciality Foods and Pret a Manger, as well as numerous ad-hoc distributions from supermarkets, restaurants and other food businesses across the community that share our vision of a waste-free future!
Building towards our goal of 7-day a week food distribution, we’ve finally been able to begin regenerating the Zero Waste Cafe to make it suitable for serving meals in-house, and for hosting our fantastic community for events and projects. Thanks to the generous help of Wandsworth Council, we’ll be opening soon as a Warm Food Hub for the area, serving nutritious, waste-free meals to those who need them. Once we get a long-term lease secured and our renovations are complete, we’ll be opening our Social Supermarket, a new format for food distribution at 9-10 Bramlands Close supported by the National Lottery’s Social Enterprise Fund through the School of Social Entrepreneurs. We’ll also be using this space as a tool library in partnership with SpaceMax Wandsworth, lending tools to residents and training them to use them for their home repairs in our regular Repair Cafe with professional tradesmen. We will also be starting to offer fundraising meals from the cafe, serving Ethiopian meals and wine to those in our community who want to help out and enjoy the marvels of surplus food.
We’ve also been able to resume our catering operations post-pandemic, cooking for Riverside Radio, Providence House, our local Jubilee Celebration, street parties, and local community projects such as the ROSE Community Centre, the Venue and Cromwell House. Of course, our catering highlight this year was the fantastic Christmas Dinner we were able to host with the amazing facilities of Providence House. It was really moving to see the amazing effort put in by all the volunteers who cooked, served and delivered meals on Christmas Day and throughout this year. As temperatures plummet this winter, we’ve been assisting Wandsworth Council’s Rough Sleeping Department and SPEAR with getting the homeless out of the cold with our partners at the Venue Community Centre, cooking warm meals with surplus food and arranging the collection and distribution of sleeping bags, coats and warm rugs.
This year has also seen the launch of the Waste Not Want Not Community Composting Project! We’ve started the process of bringing our hot composters to schools in the neighbourhood and are beginning our composting training sessions for teachers and students, slowly closing the final step in the process to Zero Waste. Waste Not Want Not Battersea has also been around and about this year! We visited our supporters at the Wimbledon Foundation and the Shallowford Farm in Dartmoor, where we cooked for the young people of Providence House and showcased our project to the Earl and Countess of Wessex. We also cooked for the volunteers at the Summerhill Festival, attended the Nine Elms Arts Ministry and catered for a celebration of Ethiopian New Year for the young refugees of the fantastic Da’aro Youth Club.
More than anything, it’s been a year full of surprises: we’ve had van breakdowns (ten times), celebrity chef visits and surprise donations when we needed them most.
For your support, interest, and dedication to creating a world without food waste, I’d like to thank you and wish you a very happy new year.
Love and light,