A BASINGSTOKE charity has become one of the beneficiaries of the campaign work of a football star.

Earlier this year, FareShare ambassador and Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford was named as the Postcode Hero by People’s Postcode Lottery. 

Rashford marked the occasion by presenting a cheque to FareShare and the Trussell Trust for £250,000, raised by the lottery’s players. 

The £125,000 funding received by FareShare has supported its network of more than 10,500 charities and charity groups in their effort to ensure that surplus good-to-eat food reaches people in need. 

One of the charities supported by FareShare Southern Central in Hampshire is The Community Furniture Project (CFP) in Basingstoke. 

CFP refurbish donated, used and reconditioned furniture and are run by a team of volunteers from the heart of the local community. 

The organisation has provided practical skills, training and volunteering opportunities to adults and young people in the area for over 17 years. Volunteers can work towards skilled qualifications with mentoring programs for individuals with learning disabilities or mental health issues, making it a fantastic space for the more vulnerable members of the community to develop. 

FareShare Southern Central originally began supplying food to CFP to provide lunches and snacks for their dedicated volunteers.

In keeping with the ethos of the project, the team at CFP found innovative ways to support their community during the pandemic.

“We started delivering weekly food parcels to volunteers, but soon started getting referrals from councils and schools to help health workers and families in need,” said Phelim O’Hagan, Project Manager at CFP. 

“At the height of the pandemic we were supporting 75 families. 

“For some it was short term support, for other families in economic hardship, they needed deliveries every week. 

“We get lots of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as tinned goods and other staples. 

“Delivering the food also gives us an opportunity to check in with people and make sure they are doing okay. 

“The food is a natural follow on from our work, so if someone is referred, we will do all we can to help.”

Regional Manager of FareShare Southern Central Claire Martin said: “Thanks to the generous support of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Marcus Rashford, we are able to support charities such as The Community Furniture Project (CFP) across the UK. 

“These funds help FareShare deliver valuable meals to people who are in need, at a time when food is needed in our communities more than ever.”