A recent study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that poverty rates have been increasing for the past four years. In addition to this, UK households face an extra £144 spend on their food bills in 2018, according to Kantar Research group.

NHS England say people who feel socially isolated or live alone are at about a 30% higher risk of early death, and being lonely can be equivalent as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Researchers have suggested that increasing the number of meaningful social interactions between people who are different could lead to many positive outcomes for society. These include increased levels of trust between people, better health outcomes, less social isolation and better results for job seekers.

In one year, avoidable food waste generated 19 million tonnes of greenhouse gases over its lifetime - and preventing that pollution would be equivalent to taking one in four cars off UK roads.

Everyone is welcome at a FoodCycle meal. Our guests come from a range of different backgrounds, ages and experiences. From our surveys, we know that many are living with difficult circumstances. These include:

What FoodCycle means to our guests:

"Gives me a reason for getting up in the morning since living without my husband (who died at the age of 93)"

Guest, FoodCycle Clacton-on-Sea

"The kitchen staff and servers are more friendly than a 5 star restaurant. I love them, they are like family"

Guest, FoodCycle Bath

"It is a big help and the food they bring out after the meal helps us to get through the week"

Guest, FoodCycle Chester-le-street

FoodCycle is powered by a team of amazing volunteers who make our nutritious, community meals happen each week. They contribute their skills in many different ways, from collecting surplus food and cooking healthy meals, to giving our guests a warm welcome and promoting it within their community. Here is what Foodcycle means to them:

"I joined FoodCycle when I was new to the area and wanted to meet new people. I can honestly say it's one of the best things I've ever done."

Kathryn Walsh, FoodCycle Sheffield St Barts

"What I get out of this small act is so much more than I could have expected; the great community atmosphere in the dining room, the satisfaction of leading a team of wonderful volunteers as we pull together a meal for 60 people, knowing that we are providing so much for so many people in different ways, but especially, all the lovely people that I have met through being part of the FoodCycle team."

Ian Chadwick, FoodCycle Cambridge

"I love chatting with guests and feeling that maybe after talking to me they feel less lonely, even if just for the day."

Amira Hosny Ibrahim, FoodCycle Birmingham South Yardley

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