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Making a Lasting Difference with BITC

Our mission at City Harvest is to get fresh, nourishing surplus food to vulnerable people who seek meals at local community programmes throughout London. One challenge City Harvest has faces is identifying these projects as many expend their resources on people in need rather than building awareness of their services. Many not for profit groups are doing amazing things to help people rebuild lives, but are hidden, for instance, in church basements or community halls.

Through our brilliant partnership with Business in the Community, we have been able to solve this inherent problem. BITC is one of the Prince of Wales’ charities which supports and promotes responsible business and seeks to bring together business,voluntary and community sector organisations to tackle local social challenges. The BITC Connectors Program encourages businesses and government organisations to second talented individuals to be placed in extremely deprived areas where they make a tremendous difference on a granular level.

The Connectors have been successful in helping City Harvest identify extremely worthy and dedicated community organisations, which provide healthy meals to those in need. When Connectors return to their primary jobs, they often leave their secondment knowing that thousands of people will be better nourished because of the work they have done with City Harvest.

We recently heard from David Camm, a Business Connector in Brent for Business in the Community, who has been a true partner and with great commitment has made created lasting benefits during his tenure.

My role as a Business Connector in Brent for Business in the Community has me visiting businesses, charities and voluntary organisations and then ‘connecting’ them where I can see that they can make a relationship work in a sustainable way.

City Harvest was one of my early introductions and being local to my area the relationship has been maintained throughout my time here. I have met with Laura, CEO of City Harvest, been out on a van for a day and visited the new food redistribution depot in Acton.

I keep City Harvest in mind whenever I am out and about, collecting information on the food industry from my walks around industrial estates that I hope can be added to their very detailed, interactive map of which I am quite envious. I have visited supermarkets for City Harvest, discussed other charities to see if we have a shared view and I have made some introductions, helped by my carrying their cards around with me.

An introduction I have very much seen the benefit of is the Fresh Horizons Food Bank in Harlesden. This is a relatively new service and when I called there in January the stock they had on offer was limited in variety and size. They could only serve around 25 people with rationed amounts and often closed early as they had cleared the stock.

Now with City Harvest’s help on board they have nearly doubled the stock, have plenty more variety, are now serving 50 plus people and are staying open a little longer than planned. Fresh Horizon’s is turning into a success story and this would not have been possible without the help of City Harvest, both in terms of supplying stock and, of course, just being there to be able to support this and other similar establishments.

My time in Brent will soon be over but the work I have done with City Harvest is one of the highlights that the people of Harlesden will certainly see the benefit of."

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