Royal appointment as founder of Wigan community group receives MBE

The founder of a Wigan organisation tackling food waste has received an MBE for her efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

Shirley Southworth, who set up Fur Clemt seven years ago and is now director, collected the honour today from Prince Charles at Windsor Castle.

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The organisation aims to “feed bellies, not bins” by distributing food which is edible but would have otherwise been sent to landfill.

During the pandemic she worked with Wigan Council to ensure people in need were fed, expanding Fur Clemt’s work.

Her team, which included some redeployed local authority staff, packed up hundreds of hampers at the Montrose Avenue headquarters which were then distributed by volunteers from The Old Courts.

The team of helpers she led ensured more than 300 tonnes of food were redistributed during the height of the pandemic.

Shirley also cooked 400 meals each week to be sent out to Age UK service users.

Shirley Southworth with her MBE

The social enterprise pantry remained open at Fur Clemt, making surplus groceries available to families at low cost and providing treats such as takeaway afternoon teas.

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Shirley also distributed food hampers and befriended one elderly resident with no support network, providing homemade meals and a socially-distanced chat each week.

When her honour was announced last year, she said: “It’s all a bit crazy. I got an email from the Cabinet Office and it’s not every day you get one of those. It came as a shock but it’s nice to be recognised.

“I don’t think you realise what you are doing until you see it all written out. You just do things because they need doing and you just get on with it.”

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