FareShare FoodCloud

Free Surplus Food Collections from Tesco

FareShare is a food redistribution charity, currently running a national scheme that is looking for charities and not-for-profit community groups who could collect free surplus food from a local Tesco store every week. The main types of food an organisation would receive would be bakery products and fruit & veg, and more occasionally eggs and other longer-life items.

What’s new?

FareShare FoodCloud is a new scheme which helps charities and community groups like you to access the free, unsold, surplus food from a day’s sales at your local Tesco supermarket. Using the simple mobile technology FoodCloud, we have already helped many UK charity groups to access hundreds of tonnes of fresh, good quality, free food. We want you to benefit too.

How does it work?

1. You nominate one or two days per week you are available to collect surplus food from your local Tesco store.

2. On those evenings at 7:30pm, you will be notified via text that your donation is available for collection.

3. The fresh surplus food will be packaged and available to collect from the store from 8:30pm that evening at a large Tesco store, or from 7-10am the next morning at a smaller Tesco Express store.

4. We are happy to say, this will always be a FREE of charge service to our charity partners.

FareShare currently redistributes surplus food to over 6,000 charities, together serving over 28 million meals last year.

If your organisation is interested in this scheme, please get in contact with Chloe Beale on 07508 910658, or chloe.beale@fareshare.org.uk

Community Fund – Rowanbank Environmental Arts & Education Summer news 2017

We are on tour with our Forest Circus! Thanks to the continued support of Vegware and the Woodland Trust, as well as some exciting new collaborations, we have been able to share our Magical Woodland Walks with many more people this Summer. During our first month of gypsy life we have worked with Greenpeace at Glastonbury, doing a walkabout act to raise awareness of the importance of forests, and the work that Greenpeace does. We’ve then been touring Woodland Trust woodlands in Wales, travelling from South to North and then South again (see attached photos).

Community Fund – Fundación Fauna de la Amazonía – June Update

One of our long-term aims is to provide conservation inputs to the local communities and schools and so we were very pleased to receive a copy of “Conservation Education and Outreach Techniques” as a donation from NHBS (Natural History Book Service) and the British Ecological Society’s Gratis Book Scheme.  This book presents the theory and practice for creating effective education and outreach programmes for conservation. As such, it will be a very useful addition to our small but growing library. Many thanks, Anita, for the suggestion and application information.

Pete has been living with, and helping, the Fundación for some time now. He bought his own 47 hectares of land several months ago; this land almost adjoins the Fundación’s, and he has been building his first residence there over the last while. It is almost complete and he will be moving in very shortly. His plan is to develop some of this land (land that has already been denuded of trees by previous owners) as self-sufficient , permacultural farmland, like a croft, and save and protect the vast majority of the land which is old forest. He will be re-foresting where and when possible with some of the tree species which have been extracted over the previous years. He also plans to develop a small, residential tourist project to encourage people to visit the area, as well as continue to volunteer with the Fundación. Good one, Pete! Check out his Facebook page…………..


Our latest reptile ‘find’ this month was an Eastern Scarlet Snake (Pseudoboa neuweidii) which was actually seen just outside the clinic a couple of weeks ago. Of course, there were numerous other sightings of different species of birds, insects, plants, spiders, etc, etc.

A few more palms and other trees have been planted near the boundary with one of the neighbours where the last remaining tall grass is being removed/displaced.

Further work has been happening on the path as well, including cementing another section (well done Dave and Glen!). It now looks like we will not need any steps on the way from the entrance to the clinic/quarantine which will make the pathway much more accessible and easy to walk. Some trees have been planted on the disturbed land at the entrance which is now beginning to ‘green up’; and fallen bromeliads and orchids have been attached around and onto some of the trees at the forest edge. We reckon it looks pretty cool, and it’s going to look even cooler once it has all settled in.

It is never silent on the land; there are the stream and river sounds, bird, frog, cricket and cicada ‘songs’; the sound of distant rain (usually coming ever-closer!), amazing thunder storms, and in particular, at night the sounds of other insects and frogs , night jars, potoos, owls, falling trees and branches. Some nights are relatively chilly (around 10-15 degrees centigrade) while others are between 20-25. As mentioned before, there is rarely a breath of breeze, and when there is, it is often caused by bats and/or large moths flying past.

Community Fund – COCA – June update

It’s been all hands on deck this month, and with summer approaching fast and the weather turning better WWOOFers have thankfully found their way to COCA to give Caz and the two hard-working EVS volunteers a hand.

A massive amount of transplanting has taken place to establish the summer crops in the field: around 2000 seedlings of different types of cabbage and more than 4800 leeks were transplanted with the help of our WWOOFers from Austria, France and Germany. In the Polytunnels, the first tomatoes have started turning red, cucumbers have started producing fruits and in the field the carrots and parsnips are looking better than ever! In the meantime, the sowing of salads and winter brassicas continues, plus the usual weeding, watering and of course the Friday harvest. But that’s not enough! We are also experimenting with new, more exciting varieties this season, including purple kohlrabi, black radishes, golden turnips and different varieties of carrots.

June was a lot of work, but as everyone knows, we live by the motto “work hard, play hard” and on their days off our volunteers got to enjoy the Blue Lagoon festival and – one of Pembrokeshire’s finest – the Unearthed Festival. A weekend leisure program including sea-kayaking, surfing, hiking, biking and a boat trip around Ramsey island with Gerald made sure no-one got bored on the weekends…

Community Fund – Scottish Beekeepers’ Association – June update

June definitely was a bee month! Hopefully there was lots of bees and honeybees flying and foraging near you. As June started it was back to school for us, we had the pleasure of talking to primary school children, teachers and assistants at several schools. First up was Lomond Primary School in Helensburgh, where Primary 1 and 2 pupils were learning all about bees and beekeeping as part of their Clarendon Ranger activities. From there it was up to Aberdeen where pupils from Hillside Primary got the pleasure of seeing her majesty live…the Queen Bee that is! Later in the month, just as schools were finishing we spent a lovely morning talking to Primary 3 pupils of Ladeside Primary in Larbert as part of their mini beast project, they knew so much about insects it was un-bee-lievable!

Ladeside Primary and their Mini Beast Project!

Whilst in Aberdeen we joined up with Aberdeen Beekeepers’ Association to spend the day at Wood Group headquarters, as part of their Eco Town initiative. Many employees were delighted to watch the live bees and see her majesty laying a few eggs and a few new honeybees emerging.

As part of our adult education programme, we were thrilled to be invited along to Community Networks in Paisley, not only to talk about bees and their importance as pollinators and food suppliers, but also to have a sneak preview at the wonderful gardens and growing projects the team have created there. Well done to all involved!

Last but by no means least, was our week spent at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh. For several years now we have been asked by the Royal Highland Society to host the Honey Tent at the show. Our tent is one of the busiest at the show, attracting around 40,000 visitors over the 4 days. As a charity, we rely on our fantastic band of volunteers to set up and man the tent, and this year we had over 200 volunteers to take part, thank you so so much!! The Honey Tent is also one of the major competition tents at the show, and this year we had over 400 entries for the various competition classes. The competitions cover everything from honey, to beeswax candles, photographs and baking so loads to see and enjoy! Our visitors had so much to see and do, with a lot of them spending more than half an hour in the tent! They left with bee friendship bracelets, bee friendly seed packets and information on how to look after bees and honeybees in their area.

Community Fund – Glasgow Old People’s Welfare Association – July update

Garden Project Update

All concrete work has now been completed and a secluded roofed area erected in the far corner of the garden area. Likewise, a workbench for making potted plants has been completed, save for sanding. A bird house has also been placed in the trees at the end of the garden and we have now produced some strawberries from our plants.

Service users are enjoying use of the garden and we hope to use some of our produce at lunchtime if plants continue to bear fruit.

Community Fund – Meesden Community Garden – July update

We are now in the middle of our growing season and thanks to recent rainfall everything in the garden is looking great. We have just started cropping our potatoes and have already had an abundant crop of Peas which everyone agree are the tastiest they have ever had. As well as the Potatoes and Peas we have been able to supply the people in our village with Rhubarb, Lettuce, Garlic, Strawberry plants and Tomato plants and we will soon have a good crop of Beans, Leeks, Carrots, Onions and Broccoli.

Community Fund – Grass Roots Remedies – July update

Midsummer came and went, and the Wester Hailes Community Herbal Clinic has been busier than ever, seeing 30 patients in June. As part of our free community education programme we ran a summer herb walk in the Willow Garden in the Calders scheme. Some local residents who are interested in herbalism have started to grow some specific medicinal plants for community use in the Willow Garden and they have been coming along nicely. Two of the plants they have chosen to grow are Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), and St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum), both of which we use frequently in the clinic.


Milk Thistle – Milk Thistle is a longstanding traditional European herb for supporting the function of the liver. It is an exampe of a plant whose old fashioned use has now been substantiated by modern clinical research. It has been found to actually help restore liver function where there is an injury to the liver or liver disease. It is so effective it can even help to reverse the effects of certain deadly poisons like the Avenging Angel mushroom (Amanita phalloides). We use it for patients with liver or gallbladder disease, and to support the liver where it has been damaged through substance use.

 St John’s Wort – St John’s Wort is another very well known herb, and is one which has found recent acclaim as a natural anti-depressant. Although it can be effective at lifting the mood, this wasn’t its original traditional use. Historically St John’s Wort was used to support the nervous system and to heal wounds. It is useful as a pain reliever in neuralgia, sciatica, fibromyalgia and where pain is made worse through anxiety or tension. It can also be used externally as a valuable healing plant and anti-inflammatory where it can speed up the rate of wound healing. St John’s Wort can interact with some prescribed medications, so it is best to consult a herbalist before deciding to take this plant internally.

Community Fund – The Yard – June Update

Summer holidays are fast approaching and everyone is getting ready at The Yard for another busy July and August. During one week over the summer holidays, we see around 250 families using our family drop in sessions. The Yard is open for our families Monday – Saturday, with a number of playschemes in the area also using it throughout the week.

This month our Tuesday girls club have had a very full schedule, and they hosted our first ever volunteer celebration at the beginning of the month. As part of National Volunteers Week, the club wanted to recognise the amazing time and commitment that The Yard volunteers have given up over the year. All the girls at the club loved hosting the evening, with some helping to serve the food and drinks and a number of the girls prepared thank you speeches.

The Tuesday girls club playteam leader Sudha said, ‘it was great to see everyone involved and there were lots of hugs and kind words exchanged by everyone.’ The girls loved it so much that they are looking for a date to hold a night for their parents and carers.

The Tuesday girls club also had a visit at the end of the month from the animal man. The animal man visits lots of our clubs throughout the year, and all of our disabled children and young people love having the experience of getting to hold and feel all the animals. He usually brings a wide variety of animals including ducks, snakes, spiders and turtles.

Community Fund – Scottish Waterways Trust – June update

Schools sessions for 2016-17 concluded with an OPAL water survey conducted by the wonderful children from P4C at Canal View Primary School on 1 June. They trouped along the canal to Hailes Quarry Park, where they collected water samples and netted some interesting invertebrates to check the water quality of the Union Canal. Despite appearances – there is often a lot of litter in the canal here – the water came out top notch yet again, which is great news for the canal, great news for canal wildlife, and great news for the people of Wester Hailes!

All the children in the schools programme this year – and their class teachers – worked extra hard to earn their Discovery-level John Muir Awards. They learned lots about the Union Canal and the wildlife it supports, about boating on the canal and about the history and heritage of this amazing feature of our Edinburgh landscape. They took photos, did drawings, wrote a poem and made posters to raise awareness of the canal and how to keep it beautiful for future generations and safe for people and wildlife. And of course everyone enjoyed getting out into our outdoor canal classroom to feel the fresh air and see the sights… The children at Canal View and Tollcross Primary Schools were presented with their John Muir Award certificates, a water safety certificate, and a nice purple goody bag from the Scottish Waterways Trust as a thank you!

Both the Canal View children (P4c) and the Tollcross children also had the chance to become part of a new canal heritage initiative, the Union Canal Unlocked project, which is a Heritage Lottery-funded partnership between Re-Union Canal Boats, the Scottish Waterways Trust, Scottish Canals and Sustrans. The Canal View children worked with animation students at Edinburgh College of Art to produce three short animated films based on the history and heritage of the Union Canal. Meanwhile the P5s at Tollcross held an assembly where they sang the Union Canal Song by Robin Laing so beautifully that the songwriter himself came to visit the children and sing with them! The recording and excerpts from Robin’s Q&A session with the children will be included – along with the animations – in a smartphone app guide to the Union Canal which is being developed as part of the UCU project.