Waitrose in Lion & Lamb Yard, Farnham, welcomed the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, earlier this month to share details of its long-established Community Matters scheme and the positive impact it has on local people.

The supermarket has for years provided vital support to local charities Your Sanctuary, Step by Step, Transform Housing and Hale Youth Centre to support vulnerable children and young people, particularly those with care experience, locally.

And during his visit, the Chancellor and MP for South West Surrey also met volunteers from Brambleton Hall Fridge & Warehouse in Talbot Road, Wrecclesham – one of the charities the shop regularly makes donations of surplus stock to – and witnessed a donation in action.

The donated food and drink are made available for free to anyone, regardless of their financial situation, to bring people together in the fight against waste while at the same time enhancing community relationships and wellbeing.

Waitrose Farnham has, over the years, donated more than 40,000 meals to local people in need which equates to a saving of more than 55,000kgs of CO2e which would otherwise have ended up in landfill.

Alice Butcher, partner and community lead at Waitrose Farnham, said: “Whether it’s donations of money or food, we want to be a force for good in the Farnham community. We’re delighted to have Mr Hunt show such interest in our work.”

Sandy Clarke, the vicar of The Bourne and Tilford who established the Brambleton Hall Fridge & Warehouse, said: “We are extremely grateful to Waitrose for their ongoing support; these donations have been a game changer for our community.

“We make regular collections from the shop and we are pleased to work together to make sure good food doesn’t go to waste and that people who may be struggling can access good food when they need it most.”

Mr Hunt, MP for South West Surrey, said: “It was a real pleasure to meet the Waitrose team – huge credit to them for all they do for the community and thanks must also go to the team behind Brambleton Hall Fridge & Cupboard.”

The John Lewis Partnership launched its Building Happier Futures campaign in 2022 which aims to support care experienced people, particularly by providing them with better opportunities in life.

The total raised through customer donations between John Lewis and Waitrose branches was over £1.1 million which will go to Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland.

Supporting children and young people, including those with care experience, was chosen as the focus for all of their shops’ most recent round of Community Matters support.