IN September The Storehouse, as it will become known, officially opens for business - identifying areas of need in Bradford and ensuring those communities aren't going hungry.

Through her work as chief executive officer of the city's Inn Churches project, involving 550 volunteers from 70 churches from the district providing 5,000 beds for homeless and vulnerable people, Juli Thompson has firsthand experience of the need.

The appropriately-named 'Storehouse' is a co-ordinated approach to providing a central storage hub while helping to feed those in need.

Established by Inn Churches, it is located within approximately 6,000 square feet of warehouse space off Wakefield Road, which the landlord has provided rent-free for the first year, where food collected from organisations such as St James's Market and Morrisons supermarket will be distributed to organisations such as Emmaus, a homeless project in the city, and deprived communities.

The initiative is a collaboration with the Saltaire Canteen, a pay-as-you-feel cafe launched earlier this year based on the model of the Real Junk Food Project, which is raising awareness about, and trying to eradicate food waste by utilising left-over food through its 'pay-as-you-feel' ethos. It is anticipated that a cafe run on a similar basis will be set up within the Storehouse.

But, perhaps more importantly, is a service which takes out meals on wheels to areas of need across Bradford.

Juli explains that the acquisition of a recently refurbished charity bus will enable them to feed families and individuals in eight key areas on a 'pay-as-you-feel' basis.

She says the intention is for the bus to travel twice weekly to areas where they will spend approximately 90 minutes in each location inviting local communities, identifying families in need who would benefit from the food parcels, containing fresh fruit and vegetables.

Juli says The Storehouse will be a hub of practical support and explains how projects such as this are exploring the balance between food poverty and food waste. "Why are people going hungry when we throw a third of our food away?" asks Juli.

As consumers, we are all contributing to the problem but initiatives such as The Storehouse are helping to bridge that niche. "It is connecting all the dots, reducing food waste and reducing food poverty."

"It is going to help solve food poverty and food waste and it will improve health as well which is the ultimate. One of our key aims is to reduce A and E admissions," explains Juli. "It is lovely working together; we achieve more together."

Duncan Milwain, director of The Saltaire Canteen, says: "As far as Bradford is concerned the exciting thing for me is, and what I would love to do, is to make it (Bradford) the first zero waste council.

"I think this is a massive thing but it is sufficiently small and creative when groups come together and deliver something and not just talk about it but actually do it and do it over a fairly short period of time."

Steven Butts, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Bradford-based Morrisons, who recently began a trial in 113 stores in the region to redistribute unsold food which is still safe to eat to local food poverty charities, says: “We know that our customers feel strongly about the issue of good food going to waste. We want to link our stores with local charity partners who can collect on a regular basis and put the food to good use. If the trial works for both Morrisons and the charities involved, we will consider expanding the programme.”

The initiative, managed by each store’s community champion, allows local charities to come to the store and collect the food that has been set aside throughout the week. This could include fresh fruit and vegetables and ambient products such as tins and packets. Over the course of a week some stores might have anything up to a full shopping trolley load.

This latest initiative builds on Morrisons current partnership with the national charity, FoodCycle, where the charity’s local hub is twinned with its nearest store and volunteers collect edible surplus food to cook meals for vulnerable people within the local community.

* Anyone interested in volunteering at The Storehouse, or can help them in their catering equipment appeal for walk-in fridges and a cooker should call 01274 955010 or 07833 450482.