Fourth-generation family baking business Roberts has launched its biggest-ever bread giveaway this Christmas to support families in food poverty across the North West.

Over 150,000 products – a mix of loaves and rolls – will be distributed from today just in time for Christmas by the Northwich-based bakery – working closely with two major partners in the sector,  FareShare and Community Shop CiC, part of Company Shop Group.

FareShare is a leading UK charity network that aims to relieve food poverty and reduce food waste. In the last 12 months, it has redistributed 54,000 tonnes of food to 8,500 charities helping over one million people.

Community Shop CiC is an award-winning not-for-profit social enterprise supporting the most deprived areas of the UK.  Community Shop provides deeply discounted groceries enabling thousands of families to eat healthily and live well.

Over the last 10 years, it has supported more than 61,000 families and used all revenues raised in the shop to deliver 174,000 personal development programmes, helping people gain new qualifications and return to work.

The big Roberts bread giveaway will see 20,000 loaves of bread and rolls a week  – 10,000 via each organisation – going into the community for the next two months, supporting essential work at one of the toughest times of the year for families.

The number of UK children in food poverty has nearly doubled in the last year to almost four million. According to the Food Foundation think tank, one in five (22%) households reported skipping meals, going hungry, or not eating for a whole day in January this year, up from 12% at the equivalent point in 2022.

Head of Sustainability and the Environment at Roberts, Will Harrop, joined Ruth Downes, Head of Development at FareShare’s Greater Manchester operation, in Openshaw to see the first batch of products on their way.

He commented: “Roberts has been baking bread for families for over four generations and has a long history of community support, but this is another level again. It’s the biggest ever mobilisation of bread distribution to good causes in our history and we are grateful to the teams at Fareshare and Community Shop  in helping us make it happen and bringing some much-needed food poverty relief at Christmas.”

Ruth Downes from FareShare added: “We are delighted to be working with Roberts on this project.  90% of FareShare charities are seeing an increase in demand, with 65% of those charities reporting more families with children accessing their services.

“Our partnership with Roberts allows us to meet the ever-increasing needs of our communities and continue to deliver measurable social impact across the North West.”

Ben Purvis, Frozen and Bakery Buyer at Company Shop Group, said: “The tough choice between eating and heating remains an everyday challenge for too many people. Thanks to the support from Roberts, Community Shop members will be able to access high-quality everyday essential products, and with Christmas fast approaching, this will provide much-needed relief for thousands of families.”

Community giving has long been a priority for Roberts. The business provides regular support for The Children’s Adventure Farm Trust, Prevent Breast Cancer, and St Luke’s Hospice as well as running its Brilliant Schools of Baking programme across Cheshire.

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