Home > Case studies > North Tyneside charity goes green with environment-focused grant

North Tyneside charity goes green with environment-focused grant

Photo: (l-r) Joanne Scorer from the Cedarwood Trust, Lidl’s Alex Hicyilmaz, the Community Foundation’s CEO Rob Williamson and Cedarwood Trust CEO Wayne Dobson doing a food collection with the new e-van. 

The Cedarwood Trust has received a significant grant to help it go green in its bid to eradicate food poverty in the North East. This is thanks to funding of a Vauxhall E Combo electric van from the Guy Readman Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

It is all part of the Cedarwood Trust’s bid to become carbon-neutral. Last year its green-schemes saved around 38,000 tonnes of CO2. They also collected surplus food and household items which they bring back to their base on the Meadow Well Estate and sell through its Food Membership Scheme. 

Cedarwood Trust CEO Wayne Dobson said 

“Having this van is already making a huge difference to what we are able to do at the Cedarwood Trust. The donations of food and household goods that we put back into the community through our charity-cooked meals and Nourish Store helped save more than 22 tonnes of products being wasted last year.

“We are now able to pick up all donations to the charity in a carbon-neutral way, as well as taking freshly-prepared meals out to the vulnerable in our community. We have also installed an electric charge point, the only one on the estate, which is free to use for residents. 

“We are so grateful to the Community Foundation for enabling us to continue our push towards becoming carbon neutral. We have more plans in place which will hopefully help us to achieve this goal in the coming months and years.” 

The new van will be used to deliver this food to some of the 90,000 people over 50 in North Tyneside, and to partner charities which look to feed those in need. 

Rob Williamson, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation, said: 

“Our funding of the van came about after we spoke to donors about how they could make a difference at the community level with issues like poverty and the cost of living, but with a green focus. 

“All the evidence suggests that it will be poorer communities that will be most impacted by climate change, so we wanted to look at how we could support organisations like the Cedarwood Trust with what they are trying to do on the Meadow Well, but in a way that was positive towards the environment.  

“We invited Cedarwood to come up with a proposal to show us how money could make a difference to them, and funding the use of an electric van turned out to be what they needed to keep helping the community in the way they want. 

“We are so happy that we were able to help provide this vehicle, which will help make a positive difference to people, and to the environment.” 

One of its first pick-ups was at supermarket chain Lidl’s Preston Grange store.  

Store manager Chris Pratt said: “Lidl has a policy of getting involved with charity partners, and for me it is just a pleasure to work for a business that is trying to do good in the community. 

“In the past these items might have gone to landfill, but now thanks to Cedarwood they are being recycled and being made use of. Cedarwood is doing a fantastic job and it a pleasure to be able to help them continue what they are doing.” 

Recently the Cedarwood Trust, which gave out 40,000 free meals during the pandemic to help feed struggling families, was awarded a £172,000 grant from Gateshead-based Kavli Trust, who the Community Foundation introduced to Cedarwood, to build an eco-friendly industrial kitchen unit. 

Work has now begun on the kitchen, which will enable Cedarwood to cook hundreds of healthy, affordable meals a day, using donated food, in an environmentally-friendly way.

If you want to support other environmental projects, you can donate to our Local Environment Action fund here.