Q&A with Andy Holland, The Felix Project

What drew CapGen to working with The Felix Project?

CT: We were looking for a way to get money to people in need quickly and when the Felix Project came onto our radar – thanks to an article in the Evening Standard – the idea immediately resonated. When you don’t have to worry about putting food on the table, it comes as a real shock to hear just how many people in London are in food poverty. Particularly when you are then made aware of the scale of food waste in the capital. So the Felix Project had an immediate appeal.  

What is The Felix Project?

AH: We find ways to get food that would often go to waste, to those going hungry in London. We do this by transporting food from wholesalers, retailers, farms, restaurants and delivered to frontline charities, primary schools and holiday programmes, feeding London’s most disadvantaged people.

How did CapGen get involved?

CT: I fired off an email and within minutes, Andy had made contact, and within a week we’d done all the due diligence we needed to do. Andy also joined us on our daily CapGen team call to describe the work of the project and take questions about how our donation would be used. We are very pleased to have started this collaboration – and as soon as we can, we will be getting out on the road to see the charity’s work in action.  

How did it begin? 

AH: The charity was founded in 2016 by Justin and Jane Byam Shaw in memory of their son Felix, who tragically died of Meningitis in 2014. In 2015, Justin was looking for a way to commemorate Felix. One thing that stuck in his mind was a boys’ football tournament, Felix played in. Felix told Justin he’d been upset to learn that many of the 10-year-old boys on the opposing team hadn’t had anything to eat that day. 

What are the goals of the project, and have they changed in the current environment? 

AH: We’ve gone from having one van and a small team to 20 vans delivering 6.4 million meals a year, but there is so much more we want to achieve. In London alone there are 1.5 million adults and 400,000 children going hungry every day; in order to bridge that gap we need to be delivering upwards of 100 million meals per year, and that’s our goal, this is all before the long term impact we are going to see as a result of coronavirus.

The coronavirus has made operations harder but heightened the need for what we do. Pre-virus we were distributing around ten tons of food a day, now that has tripled. We’ve had to pivot very quickly in our operations; from working with our own depot to setting up a temporary depot. We are also working with two other food redistribution charities in London to deliver food to hubs which has been set up by the local authorities, these have been set up in places like football stadiums and Alexandra Palace. These are brilliant and were set up incredibly quickly.

In recent times we’ve also been working more with restaurants, instead of shutting down their restaurants completely they have kept open the kitchens to make ready meals that we can redistribute.

How can companies help support The Felix Project?

AH: We appreciate all the support that we can get, from donations to fundraising events. We really like to get the companies that support us to volunteer with us as well so that they can see first-hand what a difference this charity is making. We get whole teams in to work with us for a day, with half spent helping in the distribution depots, and half travelling around London in the vans getting food to our partner charities.

If you would like to hear more about The Felix Project, or to donate, please visit https://thefelixproject.org/