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How it all began 

REfUSE started out in Chester-le-Street two years ago, with a mission to end shocking levels of food waste and instead bring delicious meals to the community. 

The CIC started by opening a community café on the town’s high street, with a ‘pay ayou feel’ policy. Today they run pop-up restaurant events, campaigns, school projectand a grocery box scheme in County Durham – all using food destined for landfill.  

Guests can pay for their meals, or volunteer their time and skills instead. The REfUSE team believe this encourages people to think about the true value of food: the resources, time and energy that has gone into producing it, whilst also empowering people who struggle to afford food. 

Since lock down, the café has had to close and all fundraising events have been cancelled meaning a loss of income of more than £10,000, and a rise in food poverty.  

Making a difference 

REfUSE applied successfully to County Durham Community Foundation for £5,000 to help deliver meals for County Durham people in need.  

Nikki Dravers from REfUSE said: “We helped a lady today who was a single mum of-five and has asthma so is unable to leave the house to get food. She is really struggling with her mental health so we delivered a food parcel to her and will continue to do so every week. We also delivered five Easter eggs for the children which they were very grateful for. 

With thanks to you 

Nikki said: With thanks to your funding we are able to reach clients who would otherwise be going without food. 

We have now delivered grocery parcels to 1,688 people and distributed 5,011 cooked meals since the beginning of the isolation. 

The deliveries have been a chance to visit those who’ve been in need of support too.  

We’ve been working with social services, other charities, probation, the NHS and the fire service to make sure we can help meet the needs of those in crisis; from nappies, baby formula and craft materials to gas and electric cards and a listening ear. 


(1) No Poverty (2) Zero Hunger (3) Good Health and Wellbeing

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