How surplus food is benefiting people affected by cancer

We asked our partners through the Surplus Food Network to share stories about the impact of their work.  Here, Fareshare Sussex talk about their partnership with the Macmillan Horizon Centre.

The Macmillan Horizon Centre is a hub offering support services for people affected by cancer in Sussex. Established in 2016, their services include information, support, money advice, counselling, complimentary therapies and healthy cookery workshops. The café at the Centre opens throughout the week and offers a calm, friendly, welcoming place serving vibrant fresh food and comforting classics. It acts as a stepping stone into the Centre and its services.

Emma at Macmillan cafeEmma (right), the café manager, creates soups and salads using the FareShare Sussex food she receives. The food is served on a suggested donation basis and free fruit is provided on every table. Emma values receiving the surplus food. She said:

“It gives me an opportunity to be creative and provides some variety in the weekly menu.”

Partnering with Fareshare Sussex allows the Centre’s café to reduce costs and so spend more on other high-quality food products:

“It enables us to provide a whole spectrum of high-quality food to our visitors.”

Emma also uses FareShare Sussex donated food in Macmillans, ‘eat well, feel better’ workshops, designed for people affected by cancer to build their cooking skills and knowledge. Sarah, a former participant at the workshops who had never cooked before regularly visits the café to excitedly describe what she’s cooked for herself and her family.

“It’s made a a big difference to Sarah’s confidence and the diet of her whole family.”

Claire at Macmillan cafeClaire (left) came upon the café while visiting the Macmillan Horizon Centre to access the other services they provide. She loved the fact that the food was donation based and the café partnered with FareShare. She said:

“It’s a unique place with a life and doesn’t feel ‘hospitality’. I think it’s important to have a café here as it gives people a chance to recharge and maintain healthy choices. It’s a really nice gift to people.”

A participant (below right) has been volunteering weekly in the café since the centre opened two years ago. She enjoys the variety that FareShare Sussex food brings to the café. She said:

“Sometimes I come in and think, ‘ooh, that’s different I’ll try that’.’”

She offers much more than a just helping hand in the kitchen and has a deep understanding with the visitors. She said:

“We offer people what they need, whether it’s a hug, a chat or simply a quiet space.”

Lyn Volunteer at Macmillan cafeVolunteering at the Macmillan café also has many benefits, she feels that the other volunteers have become like family to her:

“There is a sense of camaraderie that forms from us all being here able to do something for somebody else.”

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