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Our Shining Stars – The Annual Awards 2017

At this year’s FoodCycle Annual Conference we have been delighted to recognise the brilliant efforts of our Project Leaders at our awards ceremony. Our Project Leaders give so much time, energy and creativity each week to their projects, and really do help to reduce food poverty, loneliness and food waste in their communities. They keep FoodCycle running, support hundreds of fantastic volunteers and are vital for helping us to reach more people and grow our impact.


This year, the awards went to:


FoodCycle Bath – Volunteer Experience Award

The welcome they give to new volunteers is second to none, from encouraging everyone to join in planning the meal to providing tea and cakes. The loyalty and team spirit shown by their strong volunteer base just goes to show how much this is appreciated.  Keep up the brilliant work, Team Bath!


FoodCycle Birmingham Aston – Up for the Challenge Award


With a largely new team, Birmingham Aston are coming back stronger than ever.  They’ve had to learn quickly and think on their feet, all while serving record numbers of guests and welcoming lots of local families with small children.  A Sunday lunch with Birmingham Aston is never dull – but always hugely rewarding.  We’re looking forward to seeing what you do in 2018!


FoodCycle Birmingham South Yardley – Bouncing Back Award


The team at South Yardley have rebuilt over the past year and create a lovely, welcoming atmosphere at their meals each week, making sure that every volunteer sits and eats with guests and that nobody is left on their own.


FoodCycle Bristol – Food Waste Heroes Award


Bristol might be one of the hilliest FoodCycle cities, but that doesn’t stop the team there getting out on their bikes come rain or shine to collect surplus food.  They’ve shown total dedication this year to fighting food waste, and we take our hats off to them.


FoodCycle Cambridge – Aiming High Award


Not content with running two successful projects, last year the team at Cambridge introduced a third family meal in the north of the city with up to 75 guests.  Guests consistently us what a difference it makes; Olga and Mandy said ‘It’s like having a restaurant right on your doorstep.  We look forward to going every month.’


FoodCycle Clacton-On-Sea – Friendly Faces Award


You can see straight away how much the project leaders and volunteers at Clacton care about their guests.  Everyone is greeted by name and made to feel welcome the minute they set foot through the door. That means a lot to guests who often don’t have that in their lives.


FoodCycle Cricklewood and FoodCycle Dalston – Rising Stars Award


With FoodCycle Cricklewood launching at the end of April, and Dalston at the end of May, they are our London babies! There have certainly been a few challenges along the way, but our Project Leaders have done a fantastic job at steadying the ship, supporting new volunteers, and most importantly ensuring all guests have a fantastic experience when they come for their meal. We can’t wait to see what the year ahead has for you!


FoodCycle Durham & Chester-le-Street – Making it Happen


They might have a large number of student leaders, but Durham and Chester-le-Street managed to keep cooking all throughout the summer, over Christmas and even while the conference is on! They do this because they realise how important the meals are for their guests.


FoodCycle Finsbury Park – Strength to Strength Award


With FoodCycle Bloomsbury being reborn as FoodCycle Finsbury Park just 4 months ago, the team have certainly been up for the challenge! Guest numbers were low to begin with, but the team have worked incredibly hard to spread the FoodCycle word. It is testament to that that they hit their highest ever number of guests 5 weeks ago today.  Not only this, but the guest survey revealed that their scores for volunteer friendliness and quality of the food was up there with the best- well done guys!


FoodCycle Hackney – Indie Retailer Award


Although we have lots to be thankful for from our large supermarket supporters, we often forget about those independent suppliers whose generosity keeps many projects going. At FoodCycle Hackney, the team have worked wonders in developing strong partnerships with local independent retailers across the borough. Not only does this bring often interesting and exotic ingredients, it also helps to build their presence in the community and keep our guests happy!


FoodCycle Islington – Dedication Award


Week-in-week-out, FoodCycle Islington is packed to the rafters. And week-in-week-out, the team is a persona of calm and control. It’s a tiny kitchen, the tables are squeezed in, yet FoodCycle manages to create a consistent, calm and positive environment for all its guests. The Project Leaders work so hard ensure that everyone feels welcome, and the guest survey is certainly testament to that.


FoodCycle Lewisham – Taking Initiative Award


Although the past year hasn’t been always been easy, the Project Leader team have most certainly been up to the challenge! They are a fantastic team that proactively work to overcome anything that is thrown at them, most recently including serving a 3- course meal without any cooking facilities with just 2 days’ notice. They consistently serve a huge number of guests, with the guest survey revealing that is certainly not quantity over quality!


FoodCycle Liverpool – Getting Stronger Award


The small but dedicated team at FoodCycle Liverpool have shown a real commitment to keeping the project going and improving the experience for their guests. They’ve also challenged themselves to achieve some amazing things; highlights include their fantastic social media and their event at The Liverpool Mental Health Festival, where they absolutely nailed it serving exactly 400 portions of vegan curry and chilli. There’s a real spirit and vibrancy to the team and we look forward to seeing what they can achieve in the next year.


FoodCycle LSE – Spreading the Word Award


You may have caught their excellent presentation earlier today on how they work together as a team, and this is reflected in their coordinated, determined approach in increasing guest numbers. FoodCycle LSE have a low potential customer base, but work incredibly hard on their outreach to make more people aware of the opportunity. Just three weeks ago they hit their highest ever number of guests, and we are so proud of them!


FoodCycle Manchester – We Are Manchester Award


The City of Manchester is proud of its community spirit and togetherness, demonstrated in abundance following the tragic events in the city earlier this year. FoodCycle Manchester is no exception to this. Coming to the meals, being recognised and valued as people, developing relationships within the community and ‘being there’ for each other is what FoodCycle is all about. It’s not by chance that FoodCycle Manchester demonstrates this in abundance.


FoodCycle Marylebone – Bright Ideas Award


As if cooking in a Synagogue and then travelling a couple of miles down the road to serve at a church wasn’t enough, the team at Marylebone have set themselves the extra challenge of putting a variety of events and workshops throughout the week for its guests. Through helping to teach guests how to cook, about healthy eating, and reducing food waste, they have gone the extra mile in making a difference to the lives of those in their local community.


FoodCycle Norwich – Smashing it! Award


An evening at FoodCycle Norwich is always busy and bustling.  Despite having a tiny kitchen, a temperamental oven and no dishwasher they manage to serve up to 100 guests every Friday, all with a friendly smile.  Thanks for making such a massive difference to so many people in Norwich.


FoodCycle Peckham – Team Spirit


Every Saturday, FoodCycle Peckham welcomes an incredible 17 volunteers to join the session, with volunteers signing up weeks in advance to secure a space. Many Project Leaders have been there from the project’s beginning, and volunteers have been coming for years. This is largely down to the fun, welcoming and organised project FoodCycle Peckham has created. Not content with that, FoodCycle Peckham has recently launched a new project on Wednesdays, keep up the fantastic work!


FoodCycle Peterborough – Community Champions Award


FoodCycle Peterborough have created a wonderful leaflet of local services. We want to say well done to the team at Peterborough for all the hard work they put into finding out what’s available for guests across the city.  All this while changing venues, changing days, and changing management.  They’re an absolute pleasure to work with, they really look out for each other and we know they’re going to grow even stronger in the coming year.  What a team!


FoodCycle Portsmouth – Eating Well Award


Guests consistently rate the food at both Portsmouth projects very highly, and the team there have done some amazing work on nutrition and making sure guests eat well.  The feedback doesn’t lie – it’s the project where most guests tell us that they’ve learned something about eating well.  A meal with FoodCycle Portsmouth is like dining out at one of the best restaurants in the city!


FoodCycle Sheffield St.Barts – Welcoming Guests Award


We have had so many comments about how the guests feel welcomed as family, are encouraged to pitch in, and have a lot of fun with the volunteers.  Some help clear up, others have formed a litter pick team and there is a FoodCycle choir which gathers for a couple of months each spring and performs at the Sheffield Food Festival.  The choir is made up of guests, volunteers and members of the church who host FoodCycle.


FoodCycle Sheffield Firth Park – Community Involvement Award


At FoodCycle Sheffield Firth Park, our guests don’t often have many chances to meet and interact with their community. Language barriers can also be a challenge, and often make people feel like they have nowhere to go. FoodCycle Firth Park helps to change this through providing a space for people to social and eat together, and to use their skills through volunteering on a project that is truly meaningful.


FoodCycle Sheffield Lowedges – Making Something Out of (Almost) Nothing Award


At Lowedges, they take limited resources and achieve amazing things with them. They’ve have a small supply of donated food, a tiny kitchen, a growing number of volunteers and a small team of project leaders. With this they manage to deliver kids activities and meals each week, with lots of fun for LOADS of children (as well as a few parents!)


FoodCycle Sheffield Sharrow – Championing Culture Award


Sharrow are quite rightly proud of the mix of nationalities represented across their team, which includes Mexican, Pakistani, Iranian, Yemeni, Nigerian, Jamaican, Chinese and British – and that’s just to begin with!  There’s always a bit of translating going on in their very busy kitchen, and some gesturing.


We also wanted to say a special thank you to some of our Project Leaders who have gone above and beyond this year, and shown outstanding dedication to their projects. These went to:


David Belk –FoodCycle Sheffield St. Bart’s


We often recognise someone who makes a big splash, but this award goes to someone who has been a rock to FoodCycle St Bart’s over the past few years.  David is the person who holds things together each week, and smooths ruffled feathers when needed.  Other members of the team take a big part in this too, particularly Kathy Walsh; however David has been doing it for a long time now. He is the one that the rest of the team look to for leadership and stability.


Christie Dee – FoodCycle Birmingham Aston


Christie and Mini have really kept Birmingham Aston going through some challenging times. Relatively new to the project, they’ve dived straight in and are there week in week out, trying their hand at everything from collecting food to cooking to entertaining younger guests and welcoming new volunteers.  Often they will volunteer for 6.5 – 7 hours on a Sunday, and have never once showed they were tired. Their passion for what they do shines through every time you do a cook with them.


Sally McAteer – FoodCycle Clacton


Sally has been with the project since its very early days.  She’s there almost every week chopping endless veggies, motivating the rest of the team – and she even manages to keep Roger on the straight and narrow! Thank you Sally for everything you’ve put into FoodCycle Clacton.


Kalyani Gupta – FoodCycle LSE


Kalyani has been with FoodCycle for an incredible 5 years. Quite simply, she has been the glue of the project, keeping the team together and ensuring that both guests and volunteers receive the best possible experience. She has been helpful and supportive to Head Office, and always up for whatever challenges FoodCycle throws at her. Kalyani, we will miss you hugely, and we wish you all the best with your future volunteering endeavours.

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