Who are NCS and what do we do?
Northwich Community Support began its life born out of necessity. Tough times, the pandemic and then the floods, too many people in our local community were struggling to make ends meet and we knew that the food industry had some ‘slack’. We also knew that people with a little extra to spare in our town were always incredibly generous and would be keen to donate food items. At its simplest level, we collect what is spare or surplus and we redistribute to those who need it most.
How do we do it?
A group of people within NCS are dedicated to building relationships with local businesses and similar organisations. If a business, or indeed individual; is community focussed and if they believe in no food waste, if they believe no child should ever go hungry; then they are our friends. A secondary team of amazing volunteers constantly ferry goods from shop to local hub or storage. A third group set up and now run hubs in 4 different locations every single week of the year come rain or shine. We rely heavily on a number of people and locations to help us safely store stock. Without this level of dedication from these everyday superheroes, NCS simply could not exist.
What are the challenges?
Honesty and integrity are at the core of all we do. Every single member of the team is an unpaid volunteer utterly dedicated to supporting people in our community. The majority have acquired Food Hygiene Level 2 certificates in their own time to support the group and keep us all safe. Every single penny of cash donations we receive is accounted for and paid into the NCS bank account to be funneled straight back into the work we do. We always need extra help and support from our community!
However, as our success grows, so too do our costs. Food is transported, refrigerated or frozen, and stored; and this all costs money. Your donations are vital to keeping this going.
The logistics can be mind-boggling. Organising hundreds of collections each month is a tall order and each of the 4 hubs we run is located in borrowed premises. So, for the hour you see us at a hub there has been 2 hours of setup and there will be 2 hours of tidying afterwards. Anything left that will not safely last to the next hub date is transported to local pig farms.
Understanding balance and sharing fairly is by far our biggest challenge. It’s quite difficult to explain but here goes!
Our volunteers are some of the kindest most caring people I have ever met. It's important you work with us to share what we have as fairly as we can. If you cannot use the food yourself inside the allotted expiry date, please don’t take it. If you’ve picked up 2 loaves and a pastry, then maybe that extra bag of buns should go to the next person. We are all grown-ups and you will see what we have to share with everyone who will attend the hub with you that day. We firmly believe that in everyone’s heart of hearts, we know what’s ‘too much’. For us, this is the toughest area and it's where the community that visits us plays an important part. We have two kinds of visitors. Visitor A who absolutely takes only what they need, do not use us to supplement their lifestyle, very carefully select from the surplus to prevent waste, and leave a donation that’s fair in comparison to what they have benefited from. Visitor B, a far rarer type, will only grab the best products in the highest volume and leave tiny donations. Don’t be visitor B. No-one likes visitor B.