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Blackpool’s famous Merlin tourist attractions have given their commitment to supporting those most in need and living in food poverty and are now encouraging other businesses to do the same.

Merlin, which includes The Blackpool Tower, SEA LIFE and Madame Tussauds, was the first company to offer its support to The BIG FOOD Pledge last year and it has once again reaffirmed its commitment for this year.

The BIG FOOD Pledge is an initiative developed by Blackpool Food Bank and aims to create a local food resilience cycle by rescuing and repurposing nutritious food that is destined to be wasted.

This in turn ensures communities across Blackpool and the surrounding areas have access to essential food supplies as the cost-of-living crisis escalates.

According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), around £19 billion worth of food goes to waste every year in the UK – 27,000 tonnes in Central Lancashire alone.
This campaign encourages suppliers and manufacturers to donate their edible surplus food to Blackpool Food Bank, who will then distribute it across the local community via its network of partner outlets.

The BIG FOOD Pledge includes everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, chilled goods, and frozen foods, to bread, tinned and dried foods, in addition to household cleaning and hygiene products.

Kate Shane, Regional Director for Merlin Entertainments in Blackpool, said: “We were incredibly proud as a company to be the first to sign up to the food pledge and of course to be continuing with this commitment this year. After a very successful launch of The Blackpool Tower food hub in 2020 we’re now working with our supply chain and manufacturers to donate surplus food to Blackpool Food Bank. As a community it is essential we all rally together at these difficult times and support each other.”

Bev Lucas, CEO at Blackpool Food Bank, added: “Currently, we have strong links with all local supermarkets and make collections of surplus food over 220 times per week, however this initiative will allow us to receive and repurpose larger amounts of food from source. We estimate that if we could just repurpose 1% of local food destined for landfill, we could help support an additional 8,247 people every month.”

Neil Reid, founder of BFB, said: “There has always been an excess of wasted food in the UK but now more than ever, it just makes sense for us to do whatever we can to rescue and repurpose that food for the benefit of those in our communities who need it.

“The BIG FOOD Pledge is a simple encouragement to all of us, at every step in the food chain, to do what we can to reduce the amount of waste and to ensure that any edible surplus food ends up on the dinner plates of families within our community.

“This isn’t a quick fix though – we’re looking to build strong relationships with businesses across the area to take steps in solving the food poverty crisis we have on our hands, so we’re thrilled to have the support of some major businesses on board and backing our cause.

“Merlin, Booths, Laila’s Fine Foods and Trevors Foodservice have already signed up and pledged their support to help us supply food to local families and we are calling on other suppliers and manufactures to do the same. Any edible surplus that we can repurpose will feed families across our communities at a time of unprecedented need”.

Matthew Hitchen, Purchasing Director for Trevors Foodservice said: “It’s so important for Trevor’s Food Service to be supporting Blackpool Food Bank with their project. As a local company within the Blackpool area, 95% of our team live within Blackpool and the Fylde and all the owners and directors are born and bred in Blackpool. It’s deep within the culture of Trevor’s Foodservice to support our local community in any way we can.”

To add your support to this important community campaign, contact Blackpool Foodbank.


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