The Ridings partners with The Real Junk Food Project to feed bellies not bins in the Wakefield community

12th May 2020

The Ridings shopping centre is pleased to announce that it has partnered with a local food project to provide free retail space within the centre to support the local community in these unprecedented times.

The Ridings have provided two vacant retail units, free of charge, to local food project The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP) to help them provide valuable food packs to the local community.

The first unit, formerly Perfect Homes on All Saints Walk will be used for the storage and packaging – allowing TRJFP team space to create the “Too Good To Go Boxes”. The second unit, formerly Yorkshire Linen on Kirkgate, will be used to distribute these food parcels to the local community. The food parcels contain quality excess food that has been donated from a range of suppliers, caterers and retailers that would otherwise have ended up in bins as food waste. The food boxes cost £10 but contain food to the value of around £30, and can be purchased via the Too Good To Go app.

TRJFP intercepts perfectly edible food destined for landfill and is instead used to feed bellies not bins. Through selling the Too Good To Go boxes to those who can afford them, TRJFP are able to supply food to those who cannot afford food.

Presently, TRJFP are supplying food packs to various groups within the community including those who are self-isolating due to COVID-19. TRJFP’s food is provided to local schools to feed pupils and vulnerable families as well as to a number of local hubs who are feeding those who are struggling to access food during this difficult time.

Adam Smith, founder of The Real Junk Food Project, said: “The use of the units at The Ridings is a collaboration between ourselves and The Art House in Wakefield. This is part of our shared aim of using available space to bring people together. For us that’s through distributing surplus food to all and for Arthouse it’s bringing people together through community art.

“Having a well-appointed base from which to store food and assemble the Magic Boxes, as well as distribute our complementary boxes makes a world of difference to us. The food packs can be purchased via the Too Good To Go app and being centrally located in the Ridings means people can collect them safely. This is currently the focus of efforts during COVID-19 but our longer-term aim is to open a social supermarket on the site with food available on a pay as you feel basis. There is potential to roll this model out across the UK.

“Thank you to everyone involved at The Ridings for your amazing support. It makes a huge difference in allowing us to carry out our vital work of feeding bellies not bins.”

TRJFP opened their doors in The Ridings at the end April and had people queuing out of the door for their parcels on opening day. To date TRJFP has given out 2531 food parcels to those community groups in need, totalling an equivalent of £25,310 in monetary value, saving 25 tons of food from going to waste. In addition, the TRJFP have delivered 1400 Isolation packs for free to the local community.

The Real Junk Food Project is a registered charity (number 1160107) and was started in 2013 by founders Adam and Johanna, and in five years it has grown into an organic global network and inspired over 120 projects in 7 countries. TRJFP has saved 5000 tonnes of food, the equivalent of 11.9 million meals. Multiple cafes have opened not just across the UK but around the world, continuing to grow. In addition to the units in The Ridings, TRJFP now has its main HQ in Wakefield where the company’s “Kindness Sharehouse” operates – a social supermarket stocked only with intercepted food, open 7 days a week where food is available on a “pay as you feel basis”. The team is mainly staffed by volunteers, without whom their work across the UK would not be possible.

Lee Appleton, Centre Director at The Ridings commented, “We are delighted to be able to provide this free space within our shopping centre to the Real Junk Food Project, the work they do to support the local community is invaluable. NewRiver, the owners of The Ridings, are long-term investors in town centres and are active supporters of initiatives that help improve the local communities for which their shopping centres, retail parks and pubs are located.”

“The Ridings also partners with Normanton Food Bank and the Trussell Trust, and we are pleased to extend our support to the Real Junk Food Project. The Ridings continues to support our essential retailers, keeping the centre safe and clean as well as providing free parking to all and ensuring that The Ridings is helping to make life a little more manageable in these unprecedented times.”

The Real Junk Food Project were introduced to NewRiver and The Ridings via the Ridings shopping centre’s long-term partner The Art House.

Sydney Thornbury, CEO and Artistic Director commented, “At times like these it’s important that a community comes together to help each other out. The Real Junk Food Project is doing this in spades and we are happy that The Art House’s partnership with the Ridings can help TRJFP with space to get more food out to more people – especially our key workers. But this is a massive job and they need more volunteers. Please join us and volunteer to help.”

Volunteer and Find Out More

The Real Junk Food Project do need volunteers – to find out more or to register to help, please visit

The local community can purchase food parcels worth £30 for only £10 using the app ‘Too Good to Go’ available for the App Store and Google Play shop.

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