Teapot Project’s pop-up stall in Ipswich town centre on New Year’s Day helps support hundreds

The New Year pay-as-you-feel pop-up in Ipswich

The New Year pay-as-you-feel pop-up in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

The Teapot Project in Ipswich has hailed a successful start to 2017 after its new year pop-up stall helped stop 180 crates from going to landfill and helped feed people in the community who struggle to make ends meet.

The New Year pay-as-you-feel pop-up in Ipswich

The New Year pay-as-you-feel pop-up in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

The community interest company intercepted more than 1,400kg of waste food on Friday from Morrisons, and after local foodbanks and soup kitchens were unable to accept any more food, decided to hold a pay-as-you-feel stall on New Year’s Day.

Despite the wet weather, hundreds of people came to support the cause – with 150 crates being emptied in just three hours.

Teapot founder Mischa Pearson said: “It was just incredible. When I came in at 9am town was just dead and it was raining, but we persevered and it ended up the busiest street in town.

“All of that would have gone into landfill, and it was great to see a mixture of people there.”

Empty crates from the New Year pay-as-you-feel pop-up in Ipswich

Empty crates from the New Year pay-as-you-feel pop-up in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Volunteers on the day described the event as an eye-opener, with Miss Pearson having been inundated with more than 90 emails from Ipswich families with a roof over their heads who often have to cut back on food to pay the rent.

“I had 95 emails in one day from people saying they needed a service like this.

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“There were people saying they can’t remember the last time they bought fruit because they couldn’t afford it,” she said.

“They are putting their kids first and struggling on their own just to pay the rent, so that was a real eye-opener.

The New Year pay-as-you-feel pop-up in Ipswich

The New Year pay-as-you-feel pop-up in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

“It has given us a real confidence boost that the direction we are heading in is the right one.”

The Teapot has contracts to intercept waste from two Ipswich supermarkets and a restaurant at the moment, as well as donations from allotment holders, but is continuing to look for more opportunities to intercept waste.

Intercepted food that cannot be sold is being donated to NR Exotic Reptile sanctuary, which also helps with the Teapot’s deliveries, and nearby farms to help feed animals.

This year the project is looking to create a hub where it can intercept food from as many partners as possible and distributing it to organisations it regularly supports, before offering the rest for people in the community to pay what they feel for food.

The Teapot is also continuing to search for funding and a location for its café, which helps keep the company going, as well as launching a cookery school in partnership with Suffolk New College.

“We will be teaching a mixture of people and the important thing is it is all inclusive,” Miss Pearson said.

“Much the same it will be pay-as-you-feel, and at the end of the class we have been allocated space in the college where they can sit down for the meal together, which is really important to me.”

The cause is looking for chefs who can help with the workshops to get in touch, as well as continuing to raise money for its café plans.

Anyone who can help support the Teapot Project should visit its website here.