Last year, we announced The Felix Project as our new major charity partner. We recently spoke to Will Savage, Corporate Partnerships Manager at The Felix Project to discuss how The Felix Project has helped people during the pandemic and how the partnership with Travers Smith supports the work it does.
What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on your charity's work?
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic London was already suffering its worst hunger crisis in decades. Both the health and economic fallout of the pandemic has just exacerbated this. As the hunger crisis deepened, we found that we had fewer outlets by which to distribute our food, with some of the charities we supported being forced to close and several of our suppliers going out of business or reducing their output to us.
As a result of our agile response to the crisis and the fantastic support we received from supporters and partners we were able to immediately act as an emergency response organisation. Within a matter of weeks, we completely changed our way of working and managed to quite quickly upscale our operational capacity and ensure that we could get more food to more people throughout the city.
What help have you provided to people during the pandemic?
Over the course of 2020, The Felix Project rescued and redistributed enough surplus food to provide 21.1 million meals. Our food has nourished people who have lost their jobs, families and key workers, people with mental health issues or who are sick, people who are isolating, people who are homeless, survivors of domestic abuse, asylum seekers and refugees. Thanks to the support of organisations like Travers Smith, The Felix Project stepped up with confidence to start the process of scaling up our operations to meet the increasing demand for food that we saw during the pandemic, as well as to provide a longer-term response to hunger and malnutrition in London.
Our aim for 2021 is to scale up again and redistribute enough food to provide 38 million meals and we are on track to do just this. We know the effects of the COVID-19 crisis will be felt for years to come and The Felix Project is committed to being there every step of the way to make sure that no Londoner is left behind.
During the pandemic you formed the London Food Alliance with two other food redistribution charities. Please could you tell me more about this and how this will help people experiencing food poverty?
As mentioned above, at the start of the pandemic we were able to immediately act as an emergency response organisation. Within a matter of weeks, we completely changed our way of working and founded the London Food Alliance with FareShare and City Harvest, to ensure surplus food was reaching vulnerable people in all of London’s 33 boroughs.
The London Food Alliance (LFA) was formed in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic to get more food to more people. The LFA worked in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office and local authorities to deliver food into community resources hubs that were set up in each London Borough (i.e., The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, RAF Hendon & Alexandra Palace).
Through the London Food Alliance, The Felix Project was introduced to a huge number of new charities and organisations that needed our help, organisations who we still work with today, and was a major factor in The Felix Project’s scaling throughout 2020 and played a key role in us being able to provide 21.1 million meals throughout the worst months of the pandemic.
How do you see the Felix Project evolving in the future?
Since the foundation of the charity in 2016, we have predominantly operated in North and West London. However, we know that there are huge areas in East and South London in desperate need of support from The Felix Project. Recognising this we are delighted to announce that by the end of July 2021 The Felix Project will be opening a fourth depot in Poplar, East London. This depot will allow us to drastically increase the number of organisations that we are able to service in the East London area and will enable us to rescue 2,780 tonnes of surplus food and provide 6.5 million meals by the end of the year.
Over the next three years, The Felix Projects plans are to grow in line with the increasing need in London to ensure that no one in London goes hungry and good food is never wasted. By the end of 2023, our ambition is to have the capacity to provide the equivalent of 100 million meals a year. To achieve this, we need the support of our amazing partners, like Travers Smith. Thank you so much for your support so far and we look forward to continuing to work with you.
How can the partnership with Travers Smith best support the work you do?
We faced incredible challenges throughout the pandemic, but we were able to respond quickly because of unprecedented levels of support and funding that we received. Our continued rapid growth is only made possible thanks to huge commitments from our donors and supporters. Your support throughout the rest of the partnership will enable this growth to continue into 2021 and beyond.
With the generous support of organisations like the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Felix Project will continue to be a leading force in the alleviation of food poverty, hunger and malnutrition in our capital city while simultaneously reducing food waste on a massive scale. Together, we can achieve Felix’s strategic vision of “a London where nobody goes hungry, and good food is never wasted”.
Now that COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to lift what can people do to get involved?
There are many ways that every member of the Travers Smith team can get involved. As restrictions lift, our depos will open back up for team volunteering days. There will be spaces available in Park Royal, Enfield, Deptford and Poplar.
Alongside the depots we will also have opportunities to volunteer in Felix’s Kitchen – where we will need 25-30 volunteers a day to support our chefs.
As well as volunteering we have several upcoming fundraising opportunities, such as The Vitality Big Half, The Royal Parks Half Marathon and The London Marathon.
Thank you again for all of your support so far.