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Charity offering Woolwich residents free meals in need of volunteers

FoodCycle needs volunteers to help tackle cost-of-living issues and tackle loneliness   (FoodCycle)
FoodCycle needs volunteers to help tackle cost-of-living issues and tackle loneliness (FoodCycle)

FoodCycle is a UK charity combining food, spare kitchen spaces, and volunteers to help create three-course meals for those at risk of food poverty and social isolation.

The charity tackles loneliness and food waste - but is in urgent need of volunteers as it opens its doors in the Woolwich area.

Opening on January 20 at the Woolwich Common Community Centre, the weekly free meal provides not only delicious food but also much-needed conversation to those less fortunate.

This initiative marks the 18th FoodCycle project in Greater London.

Why volunteer at FoodCycle?

The charity is in need of extra hands to help them as the cost of living wages on.

By volunteering, you will provide much-needed help and compassion to guests and according to the charity:

  • 87 per cent of guests say that FoodCycle makes them feel part of their community

  • 81 per cent say that attending a FoodCycle meal makes them feel less lonely

  • 86 per cent said they feel happier after coming to a FoodCycle meal

  • 84 per cent said they have made friends at a FoodCycle meal.

“We are thrilled to be opening our 18th Project in London, this time introducing FoodCycle to the Woolwich community,” said FoodCycle London regional manager Francesca Selwood.

She added: “As the cost-of-living crisis continues to hit people hard across the city, and we greet the new year with frosty temperatures, our service is more vital than ever. We look forward to providing a warm space and a nutritious, three-course meal to anyone in the community who needs it, no questions asked.”

How can you volunteer at FoodCycle?

FoodCycle Woolwich is looking to recruit volunteers and project leaders.

The volunteers’ roles are flexible without a minimum time commitment and are open to anyone. Jobs include food collecters, surplus-food co-ordinators, cooks, hosts, and project managers.

FoodCycle volunteer Paul said: “Because of FoodCycle, I’ve found I enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen environment, and it’s something I’d love to do as proper paid work. Being at FoodCycle every week helps to show that I am reliable, can work with other people, and that I am committed, so it’s really changed things for me.

“We have a natter and a laugh, and I like the teamwork and the people. We eat good food and catch up on what we’ve been doing in the week. Everyone is very kind and very inclusive.”

FoodCycle’s free community meals are open to all, and guests range from low-income families, people affected by homelessness, and those who cannot afford to buy food. No questions are asked, you can just turn up and take a seat.

Without volunteers, FoodCycle cannot provide a vital service to the community, who have come to rely on the chance to sit down to a free, three-course meal every week.

To sign up as a volunteer or to find your local FoodCycle Project, visit FoodCycle or email

Community dining solves loneliness and food insecurity

According to a recently released research report, “community dining” was found to be the answer to helping tackle loneliness and food insecurity.

The report was written by social eating and community food system expert Dr Marsha Smith, of Coventry University, and was supported by a survey of around 2,000 people.

According to the survey, two out of three people agree not enough is being done by local councils to promote community dining projects.

The survey also highlighted that we are a nation of solo diners, with around 24 per cent saying they eat alone every day of the week.

However, one in two people believes mental health is improved by eating with others.

The survey found a whopping 96 per cent have not heard of community-dining projects but one in two people would attend one if it was available in their area.

When and where is FoodCycle Woolwich?

Having opened on January 20, the free weekly meal at FoodCycle Woolwich will take place every Friday, at 12.30pm, at Woolwich Common Community Centre.

The address is 17 Leslie Smith Square, London, SE18 4DW.