January 13, 2023

Feeding Communities Partnership Takes Off!

We are delighted the BBC raised awareness of one of our important partnership activities this week highlighting the issue of food poverty in the local area. A four-part relationship has been established through the energy and efforts of Leighton Park’s Senior Assistant Head: Outreach & Partnerships, Tash Coccia, which has made a significant difference to those in need.


Introducing Trisha Bennett, Community Development Coordinator at Whitley Community Development Association to the Schools catering company, Thomas Franks Ltd, back in March 2020 provided the opportunity to do something special to help those in the neighbouring area of Whitley. Feeding Communities was a project launched by Thomas Franks that enabled their talented chefs who would otherwise have been furloughed to offer delicious and nutritious food to those in need using the kitchen facilities of their clients. Now that lockdown is over the Feeding Communities project has evolved yet continues to provide meals through charities such as Whitley CDA. Leighton Park’s relationship with the Rotary Club of Maiden Erlegh is well established through our hosting of the annual Art and Craft Fair which raises money for the Rotary Club’s chosen charity and our Years 9-11 opportunities to volunteer via Rotary’s Interact initiative. This year the money raised by the Art Fair was given to the Feeding Communities Charitable Foundation to purchase ingredients via Thomas Franks supply chain which could be prepared in Leighton Park’s kitchens and delicious frozen meals destined for Whitley CDA could be stored. The Rotary Club have delivered a total of 2,500 frozen packaged meals to people in need in Reading and Wokingham with other beneficiaries including Cirdic, Woodley Foodbank and SHARE Wokingham.


Trisha Bennett, Community Development Coordinator at Whitley Community Development Association, Richard Nicholson from the Rotary Club of Maiden Erlegh and Raj Singh from the Thomas Franks Foundation were interviewed by Andrew Peach on BBC Radio Berkshire on Thursday 12th January and shared their positive experiences of the partnership.


This is making a huge difference.” reflected Trisha speaking on the show, “At Whitley we have a lot of surplus food; it’s good food but it’s not always nutritionally balanced. This is food with every correct nutrient in it. We have someone at the University looking at the link between food poverty and health and being able to get proper meals that have got all the ingredients in it that people require makes a real difference so that can complement the food surplus.”


Over 100 meals funded by the Rotary Club’s Art Fair including lasagne, stews and ‘seasonal comfort food’ were delivered to Whitley CDA this week and all have been swiftly distributed. “The feedback has been phenomenal.” said Trisha.


Raj Singh at the Thomas Franks Foundation explained that partnerships like this, bringing the Rotary Club of Maiden Erlegh, Leighton Park and Whitley CDA together with Thomas Franks, have given 1.7 million meals since the start of the pandemic to those in need. Head Chef at Leighton Park School, Alessandro Albanese, commented, “Personally I am very proud to be part of this successful partnership tackling food poverty in the local area and I am also very proud for my all team to be on board with this. Anything I can do to help, I will.”


You can listen to the interviews on the BBC website.

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