Helping the local community, the Black Prince Trust with the Felix Project

With over 13 million people in the UK struggling to get enough to eat every day, and millions of tonnes of good food waste (FareShare), the Felix Project (and other initiatives) collect food that can’t be sold to redistribute. They support the most vulnerable in society.

 The Black Prince Trust (BPT) is a community sports hub. They provide free and accessible initiatives, health and wellbeing programmes, and physical or social activities to their local community. This case study highlights BPTs work with the Felix Project and concludes with some top tips on how to engage with similar schemes to benefit your local community.

FareShare van making a delivery

Why start this project?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, BPT became a central food distribution hub. Following the end of government support, BPT approached the Felix Project and were accepted as a beneficiary organisation due to their bespoke Senior Citizens programme, which reached what was then a largely underrepresented group for food support. The impetus of supporting the community during lockdown created a special relationship with the Felix Project. BPT are drawn to continue their work with the project because:

  1. It resonates with their own aims and ethos which include creating a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the local community.
  2. BPT is located on a residential estate in an area of socio-economic deprivation. By supporting this project, BPT can see first-hand the challenges facing local people and can engage directly with more of their local community.
  3. BPT and its partners are ideally placed to understand and address other challenges causing hunger such as working with asylum seekers with no access to cooking facilities; people feeling forced to limit their use of gas and electricity; and people living with physical and/or mental health challenges that can make cooking difficult. Operating a community fridge (food distribution service) without means-testing enables BPT to reach people with different needs who will benefit in different ways.
  4. People sometimes come to sessions hungry, so helping them to access free food is very beneficial and supports them in sustaining energy to undertake physical activity. Produce is also used to provide weekly tea and toast at post-session socials in the café for groups including refugees, over 55s, and those living with mental health conditions.
  5. The partnership is a positive and appropriate way to help people during the cost-of-living crisis, and accessing BPT’s community of regular site users helps the Felix Project to reduce food waste.

How does it work?

The Felix Project deliver food supplies to BPT twice a week, by prior arrangement. BPT’s volunteers and staff help collect the food from the van and unpack it in their kitchen, split it up into individual elements and put together bags of food ready for collection.

They have a WhatsApp group which the team post on to inform local residents of what's available and when they can collect it. Members of the team then hand out food parcels from the onsite café on a first come, first serve basis. There’s no paperwork involved for residents, and the scheme is not means tested.

Boxes on a table being sorted Two people talking

What are the challenges?

There are many benefits of engaging with the Felix Project, but the nature of saving food from waste to distribute in an area of socio-economic deprivation naturally presents a few challenges:

  • Size of delivery. The size of the delivery can differ from week to week with food saved from waste rather than placed on order. BPT manage this by storing items that last longer such as pasta and rice, distributing gradually and holding some back for days with smaller deliveries.
  • Food uncertainty. BPT receives all kinds of food items and accepts everything.  Some foods are more readily received than others, with some people not used to meat-free alternatives or unaware of how to cook less common vegetables, but BPT always offer advice and encourage people to try different food wherever possible.
  • Cooking expenses. There is no one-size fits all distribution model. Some items cost more to cook, particularly if they require long durations in the oven such as whole chickens, which means certain foods are less readily received by the poorest members of the community.

 These challenges are minor compared to the numerous benefits that have a profound impact on the community, and BPT work around them through conversations with the community to make sure the right people receive the best food for them based on tastes, culture, dietary principles and family dynamics.

What’s next?

BPT are continuing to grow and find new ways to help their community. A recent grant has enabled them to fit a high-quality professional kitchen and support a charitable food programme from their kitchen and café. Share Community, a registered charity who work with adults with learning disabilities, autism, and mental health needs, are now running a training kitchen at the site for students.  They aim to provide training towards employment while producing 100-150 meals a day, and working with BPT’s local partners to distribute them to the local community, including those living on the estate BPT are located in. This has the added benefit of being able to cook any food that is less easily received (reasons outlined above), further contributing to the shared goal of the Felix Project and BPT to reduce food waste. BPT are also now able to receive catering-sized packages. In time, they’d like to progress the programme to offer front of house and hospitality training with a view to publicly opening the space as a social enterprise café.

Advice to others

BPT’s advice to others looking to make an impact in the same way, is:

  • Clear communication. Be transparent and open with your networks and key partners to build strong relationships.
  • Shared culture and ethos. Ensure your culture is strong and that the ethos of your partners matches your own. Keep this at heart of everything you aim to achieve.
  • Know your strengths. If you have the right assets, use them and be proud to show them off and share them with others.
  • Grow organically. Make plans and work with partners to achieve them, don’t try and force action if you don’t have the resources to deliver or sustain them yet.
  • Be consistent. Ask questions, be willing to adjust but keep your goals in mind.
  • Question yourself. Ask yourselves ‘how can we use what we have to benefit the community?’

Find out more

Find out more about the Black Prince Trust on their website, or watch Club Matters recent video which showcases their approach to environmental sustainability. You can also explore more on the Felix Project and how to get involved in the programme on their website, and take a look at engaging lower socio-economic groups through the Club Matters website.


Last modified: Thursday, 13 July 2023, 10:47 AM