Food distribution charity sees supplies drop by up to 20% due to lorry driver shortage

‘We must now go the extra mile to source food for those meals,’ The Felix Project chief executive says

Zoe Tidman
Tuesday 27 July 2021 12:31
<p>The UK is in the midst of a lorry driver shortage</p>

The UK is in the midst of a lorry driver shortage

Charities are being hit by the lorry driver shortage in the UK, with one saying it has received up to 20 per cent less food than usual due to the haulier crisis.

The Felix Project, London’s largest surplus food distributor, said it has seen a significant drop in food supplies as a result of the shortage.

The UK is in the throes of a growing lorry driver crisis, which is causing gaps on supermarket shelves, delays and cost hikes.

The chief executive of The Felix Project, which supplies hundreds of charities, schools and food hubs with produce, told The Independent the shortage was “no doubt” having an impact on the food distribution charity.

Mark Curtin estimated there was “15 to 20 per cent less food available to help the poorest people in London” as a result of the haulier crisis.

“We must now go the extra mile to source food for those meals, so we can feed families over the summer as planned,” he told The Independent.

The Felix Project said this drop in food supplies was having a knock-on effect for the food banks, shelters and charities across London it works with.

One of these, Wolves Lane, cooks meals to distribute to sheltered housing and a local food bank in north London and is working to overcome its reduced supply.

The project has seen usable food delivered to them fall from 100kg to 25kg in recent weeks due to haulage issues.

Its founder, Sharon Conrad, told The Independent the haulier crisis has meant her charity was “struggling to make as much food” or pack in as much fresh vegetables as before.

She said her project has recently received some funding which has allowed them to grow more food on their own site - but it is not enough to make up for their drop in supply.

“It’s not enough to make the 300 plus meals that we’ve been making,” Ms Conrad adds.

“It is just really sad as well because we want to make some lovely food and I’ve got great volunteer teams coming in to do all the prep, and it is just noticeably reduced in about the last four weeks.”

The logistics industry has estimated there is a shortfall for around 100,000 HGV drivers due to the Covid pandemic and following Brexit.

The UK government unveiled plans earlier this month in an attempt to improve the situation, including easing driver qualification requirements and better working conditions.

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