A group of teens taking part in NCS (National Citizen Service), have spent their summer holidays tackling food waste and making a difference to Truro’s homeless.

The group encouraged local cafes and takeaways across the city to donate any leftover food for their campaign and they donated it to St Petrocs – the local homeless shelter.

But when they realised that the charity didn’t have a big enough fridge and freezer space to store any time-limited donations, they sprang into action to raise extra funds for the homelessness charity.

Lucy Marshall, 16 from Wadebridge, said: “Our team decided to tackle food waste because so much edible food is wasted every single day. This is not only harmful to the planet but also to your pocket, so we thought it was in everyone's best interests to reduce the amount of food that we threw away. We really wanted to raise awareness of the issue and try to reduce food waste as much as we possibly could.”

The teens, from across Cornwall - many meeting for the first time this summer, have been taking part in NCS, a youth programme that sees 16-17 year olds mix with new friends, take on new challenges and make a difference in their communities during school holidays.

As part of their social action project, local NCS teens spent time looking at research on the impact of food waste.

Empowered to make a change in her pocket of Cornwall, Lucy continued: “We found that a lot of the smaller businesses in Truro were really good at managing their waste, so instead we went to the likes of Starbucks, Costa and Baker Tom’s and found that at the end of the day they had lots of items like sandwiches and bread that just go into the bin. We collected their unused food items and donated them to St Petrocs, which runs a shelter and food bank for homeless people.

“St Petrocs didn’t have enough space to store fresh or freezable items, so we set up a fundraiser. In total, we gathered over £600 for a new fridge and freezer and made sure it was fully stocked for them.”

Angie Utting, Service Manager at St Petrocs, said: “As the numbers of rough sleepers are increasing, we have more people to feed.  We have now double the fridge space and it will make such a difference because it means we can accept extra food which is served to our rough sleepers on a daily basis.  The new freezer will allow us to store donated bread which we use to make sandwiches for our rough sleepers.

“We are very grateful to the teenagers on NCS for all their hard work and kindness.”

Lucy added: “It’s opened up my eyes to the shocking amount of food that is wasted each year, and I’m planning on continuing to raise awareness of the issue. NCS was an absolutely amazing experience and it was rounded off really nicely with the social action project.“

To find out more about NCS, visit wearencs.com