REfUSE is Durham’s branch of The Real Junk Food Project: a rapidly growing network of organisations challenging criminal levels of food waste. They intercept food before it becomes waste and turn it into healthy, accessible meals, served on a ‘Pay As You Feel’ basis.
REfUSE’s vision is show the value in things, places and people that are unjustly wasted or overlooked. Each month we intercept around 12 tonnes of food that would otherwise go to waste, from retailers around the North East. They then redistribute it to people, though our ‘Pay As You Feel’ community cafe and restaurant in Chester-le-Street, our private catering brand Conscious Kitchen, partnerships with other charities and our Waste-Not Box delivery scheme.
Refuse has recently moved into their cafe and were working hard to getting everything up and running. During a really busy period they had a negative experience in relation to their electricity switch and were cautious about switching their gas contract.
REfUSE is based in Chester-le-Street: in April 2018 we launched a creative and inclusive ‘Pay As You Feel’ community cafe on the high street. We also run restaurant nights, education projects, and a supported volunteering scheme. We are raising awareness and educating about the climate and ecological impact of food waste, building community and providing healthy food and good company to anyone that wants it.
The SwitchAid team recognised that, not only was it important to find a great deal for Refuse Durham, but also to support them to choose a deal that was right for their needs and to let them know they had control of the process.
We spoke with a number of suppliers, not only based on the current needs of the cafe, but also their future needs. After a short discussion, Refuse Durham opted for a tariff that would generate increased savings over the length of their contract as their usage is expected to increase year on year.
Nikki Dravers, co-founder of REfUSE
SwitchAid.org has been great, they contacted us last year at a time when we were in the middle of stressful building work trying to get the café ready to open and we were approached by various energy consultants who I felt were trying to hoodwink and exploit us.
What SwitchAid has done is advise not sell, which has taken away all the worry about our energy supplier and we’ve recently received our first cash payment of over a £100 with the expectation that this is the first of many regular payments. This will potentially unlock hundreds of pounds on a regular basis and by supporting us in this way SwitchAid is contributing toward making our not-for-profit business model more sustainable.”