Sobering Thoughts has enabled me to channel my inner most feelings and thoughts. Opening up fully on issues I have had and continue to have. Thanks very much if you are reading this. If it helps you at all I am so pleased about that. I really appreciate the support I have received from people who have struggled themselves or others who have been affected by poor mental health in a friend or family member. Keep talking to your inner circle and support networks. It is vital that we keep supporting those around us in very challenging times. We are still deep within a mental health crisis, coupled with rising costs for living we need to try and take care of another as best we can. I have mentioned the organisation that I volunteer with, and I want to dedicate this blog to them.

Foodcycle is a national charity operating over sixty projects across the UK. The organisation has three aims which intertwine quite perfectly. Ending food poverty, conquering loneliness, and eradicating food waste. All of the aims are important to me and the other volunteers but what is crucial to this charity is that the guests who come along every week know that they are also contributing to combating the high levels of food waste we have in the UK. We are a community, a group of people coming together for that common cause.

The cost of living crisis is unavoidable. Up and down the country people are feeling the pinch. More and more people are now forced to use foodbanks or other sources of free food. Foodcycle doesn’t ask questions, for anyone who would like a meal, or some left over ingredients they get them. There is no referral system. If you need it there and then, you get it. I am not criticising other organisations one bit. I am setting out what makes us different. I try not to make these posts political but… twelve years of Tory austerity and stagnation has led us to this point. The country is in crisis, breaking point. We are not far from a general strike in my opinion and to be honest this would be welcome. Strikes are clearly a topical issue at the moment. Please please don’t buy the bullshit the right-wing hacks and media want you to bite down on. Nurses, rail staff, postal workers are not striking to disrupt your lives. They are on those picket lines to ensure they can heat their homes and put food on the table for their families, just like you. We need to come together and support one another in the most challenging times because you can be sure that your elected Government will do the bare minimum. It is coming up to the festive period. Please show compassion to your neighbours, your friends and family. If you are in a fortunate position and coping, try to help someone who isn’t.

Do you know how much food is wasted in the UK? Go and research online. It is staggering. And it isn’t just food at home we waste, the supermarkets throw away a colossal amount every year. According to a report by The Grocer, supermarkets throw away 100,000 of edible food annually in the UK alone. In fact, it’s estimated that the UK’s total food waste could feed upwards of 30 million people a year. Shocking right? I had never seen any of this until I started volunteering with Foodcycle. We collect on a weekly basis from supermarkets local to project who are throwing away food that is on or just over its sell by date. The vast majority of these products or ingredients are absolutely fine to use and consume. Have a look at the link I have posted at the bottom of this blog for some ideas on what we can do at home to help combat this issue.

Loneliness among the older sections of society is highly prevalent. With us only recently coming out the midst of a pandemic where the older and more vulnerable people were isolated away from large sections of the public foodcycle acts as a place where locals can come along and chat to one another along with the volunteers. I have to say this is my favourite part. I have met some brilliant characters over at the project I volunteer with. One of the regulars who comes along chats to me on what he has been up to, asking me questions about my life and telling me joke after joke. I don’t know if he is lonely or not. But the impression I get is that he doesn’t see a lot of people from day to day so the project is a fantastic place for him to come along to socialise with local people in his community. There are a number of groups who have now merged together into one and come every week to see one another. That for me is fantastic, and exactly what foodcycle is all about. I am immensely proud to be a part of this and feel very fortunate. I typically try to get over there once or twice a month after work on a Thursday night. On those evenings I will feel tired and for a moment it crosses my mind (selfishly) that I could just stay at home and relax. But then as soon as I arrive and get started I immediately remember why I am there and the enjoyment I personally get from this which I know isn’t important in the grand scheme of things but it does help.

If you are interested in finding out more information on foodcycle then follow the link below. Other similar types of organisations may be operating in your area so keep any eye out if you need to access any of the services they provide or wish to volunteer.

Thanks for reading.

Nick Denton

Sobering Thoughts