King Charles will celebrate his 75th birthday by kicking off a new initiative aimed at tackling food waste.
The monarch is concerned about the impact the cost of living crisis is having on people’s lives and wants to address food poverty in the UK.
The idea was sparked by a conversation with the Felix Project which is now the biggest distributor of waste food in Europe to those in need. The King made a private donation to the charity and has expressed interest in helping those most in need.
On his birthday on 14 November, he will use the Felix Project as a template and partner for the Coronation Food Project (CFP).
The programme will also have as a partner FareShare, another charity that works nationally to reduce food waste outside London as well as the capital-based Felix Project.
The birthday programme could not be a greater contrast to the pomp and pageant of monarchy with the King expected to visit food distribution centres and see how their volunteer network reaches such a large number of people.
“To know that the King is going to support those in need through the Felix Project as part of his 75th birthday celebrations is a gift for us to enhance what we do: rescue food for those who are hungry,” Charlotte Hill, the charity’s CEO, told The Independent.
“Not only has he personally contributed to the Felix Project but this extra support will allow us to expand and find food for even more people,” she added.
“He is the cavalry to our army of volunteers. This is a magnificent gift not just to us but to the nation.”
The Independent helped fund the Felix Project as part of its £10m award-winning Help the Hungry campaign during the Covid pandemic.
It was set up by Justin and Jane Byam Shaw almost eight years ago following the death of their son Felix, who died suddenly from meningitis in 2014.
The organisation sources surplus food from the food industry and redistributes it to people who need it.
The CFP was announced on 12 July and will work with farmers, supermarkets and organisations to ensure excess food is redistributed to support communities across all four nations of the UK.
It aims to support local farms and reduce emissions as well as tackle food insecurity.
In 2021/22 there were 4.7 million people, or 7 per cent of the UK population, in food poverty, including 12 per cent of children, official figures show.
Among the 11 million people found to be in relative poverty, 15 per cent were in food insecure households, including 21 per cent of children.
People in relative poverty live in a household with income less than 60 per cent of the contemporary median income.
Last year the Trussell Trust, a charity and network of foodbanks, supplied the highest recorded number of three-day emergency food parcels to people.