My Week: Jim Trower

The director of operations at FareShare recounts his week

Jim Trower
Jim Trower

Monday: My job is to persuade the food industry to part company with its surpluses and get it distributed to our 17 depots while it is still in date. I am on the road a great deal, so living in Somerset is not a problem, even though the office is in east London.

I take the opportunity to drop into our Bristol depot, where demand for food is outstripping supply. Given that government figures say more than three million tonnes a year go to waste, it makes me angry that it's such hard work to get food companies to release their spare food to us.

Tuesday: I meet one of our supporters, the food services supplier Brakes, which has pledged to give us the fresh food to supply a million meals. We go on to the Institute of Grocery Distribution's awards ceremony, where our partnership wins the Unilever Community Award. As we celebrate on stage, it's good to know that the chief executives of all the top five supermarkets are there.

Wednesday: After possibly too much celebrating, I have an intensive day of planning for the next financial year. It's a nightmare trying to predict food supplies when the supply chain is one built on surpluses and waste. Given that there are 700 charities relying on this food, it all adds to the pressure to secure more.

Thursday: I'm talking to the distribution managers of the major warehouses for a well-known supermarket. It's taken months to get them and the right person from the supermarket together so that we can cut through the red tape and start getting at least 10 tonnes of surplus a week released to us. The meetings do the trick and it's job done, with more food being added to the network.

Friday: I hit my email to catch up on how we are allocating the food across our depots and let them know about the latest supplier to get on board. When we manage to secure a new source and hear the feedback from the network, it makes all the aggro worthwhile.

FareShare takes surplus stock from the food and drink industry and redistributes it to organisations working with disadvantaged people.

Jim Trower is director of operations at FareShare

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