It’s a runway success: now Heathrow backs our food appeal by sponsoring a van to ferry fresh fruit and veg to hungry kids

Ed Cumming
Sponsorship: Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye and Jane Byam Shaw with the Felix van at Heathrow Airport: Alex Lentati

Heathrow Airport has become the latest business to back the Evening Standard’s Help A Hungry Child appeal, by sponsoring a new van for The Felix Project.

The refrigerated, low-emission vehicle will work in areas surrounding the airport, picking up surplus fresh food from supermarkets and other retailers and delivering it to frontline charities.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s chief executive, said: “I am delighted to see The Felix Project going from strength to strength, and we are pleased to support such a worthwhile cause.

“Through sustainable innovation, partnerships and commitment to being a better neighbour, we believe the airport can help improve quality of life for local communities. We look forward to seeing the van on the road, supporting our neighbours who need it the most.”

The Felix Project was founded last year by the Standard’s chairman, Justin Byam Shaw, and his wife Jane, in memory of their son Felix. It is based in west London, with the first depot located in Park Royal. From a handful of volunteers and a single van when it launched, it now has more than 250 volunteers and 10 vans.

The Help A Hungry Child appeal is focused on ensuring no child in London goes to bed hungry, in the wake of shocking statistics that show one in 10 families in the capital are relying on food banks to survive.

The new van’s routes will include deliveries to west London primary schools, where The Felix Project will set up market-style stalls at which pupils can collect fresh produce. The new hub in Hounslow will be able to redistribute more than five tonnes of food per week, supplying over 50 charities.

“We are delighted Heathrow has added its support through their funding for this new van, which will enable us supply many more charities on a weekly basis,” said Jane Byam Shaw.

“The van will be driven by dedicated Felix Project volunteers and cover the equivalent of the distance from London to Milan and back each month. Only seven per cent of edible food that is discarded by the food industry currently reaches people who need it.

“We are just scratching the surface of the potential supply, with new suppliers in the area, like the Western International Market, diverting fruit and vegetables away from landfill by supplying The Felix Project.”