“Diverting Surplus Food to those in Need”

Key Facts

Name of Enterprise: FareShare South West
Legal Structure: Charity
Date of Deal: November 2014
Transaction Size: £70,000
Type of Finance/Investment: Direct Investment
Impact: Community, Rehabilitation, Poverty & Disadvantage

FareShare South West diverts surplus food that the food industry would otherwise waste, to organizations that work with vulnerable people and also offer work experience and job opportunities for vulnerable individuals who have been excluded from the jobs market. They have also developed a catering arm, where surplus food is used to provide a fine dining experience at festivals and larger scale events, as well as general catering services at smaller events.

Bristol based FareShare South West is an independent franchise of the national charity FareShare.

It works with the food industry to minimize fit for purpose fresh, frozen and long-life food going to waste and distributes this food into organizations working with the most vulnerable people in the community.
Thousands of tonnes of perfectly good, in-date food are wasted each year, whilst at the same time, there are over 4 million people in the UK who cannot afford a healthy diet, among them homeless and elderly people, children, refugees and people suffering mental & physical health problems.

FareShare South West aims to address this imbalance by redistributing quality surplus food to organizations working with vulnerable individuals in and around Bristol. Each week around 50 people help re-distribute the food throughout the South West, around half the volunteers are or have been vulnerable and they are offered training opportunities and support in their lives. The key benefit is that these organizations get high quality, healthy food at a fraction of the price it would be if they purchased it directly.

In the first deal of its kind, the charity has received an investment of £70,000 from a small group of angel investors piloting a social investment tax relief fund that will be set up and managed by Resonance.

The FareShare deal was one of two deals arranged by Resonance as part of the pilot stage of the development of a Bristol wide social investment fund, to test the appetite for social investment in Bristol and to demonstrate the influence social investment could have in scaling social impact.

This fund is now in the final development stages and following the success of the FareShare deal, the fund will be an SITR fund enabling investors to access tax relief and social enterprises to access a cheaper cost of capital as a result. A second deal was arranged for the Severn Project CIC, which also received a loan of £80,000. The loan was used to expand production capacity of its urban farms, which provides fresh local salad to restaurants, shops and distributors in Bristol, while creating employment for people with significant barriers to the workplace. This second deal wasn’t eligible for SITR and so the capital was more expensive and less patient.

In its report “A Social Investment Fund for Bristol”, Resonance sets out its findings from this pilot phase including the detail of the two deals done. A copy is available on-line from the Resonance website or you can request a hard copy.