She feeds hundreds of people a week - yet this Sunderland woman was gobsmacked to be nominated for an award

A determined Sunderland woman – who has fought to help hundreds of Wearside people with food supplies – is in the running for an award.

Monday, 24th February 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 2:56 pm
The 2020 Best of Wearside Awards.

It’s only a year since Dianne Richardson started the not-for-profit Forage Community Project with an aim of intercepting food which was destined for landfill and delivering them to people’s doors.

But the project which she started in her spare room has grown enormously in just a year and now, after starting out by helping ten families, Dianne now helps around 80 families a week.

And her sterling efforts have put the Forage Community Project in the running for a Best of Wearside Award.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Dianne Richardson, the founder of The Forage Community Project which has been nominated for a Best of Wearside Award.

Dianne said: “That’s incredible. It’s not often that I am lost for words but I am now!”

When she started, Dianne delivered bags of shopping every night when she finished work.

For just £5, families received a bag of shopping worth way more than that, and contained fresh items such as butter, cheese, meat, fruit juices, and fresh pasta.

The project grew so quickly that it soon had two pick-up points in Sunderland, at the United Reformed Church, Roker and Back On The Map, Hendon.

And the scheme is still expanding. It now has a raised bed in the Red Machine Community Garden to try and help families become self sufficient.

Dianne will begin Sunderland’s first ‘pay what you can afford’ hot food project at the end of March, making dishes out of food destined for landfill. There will also be workshops to help families make the most of food they receive, cookery demonstrations and eco workshops.The nomination for Forage said Dianne had ‘saved over 75 tons of food from landfill this year and is still working from her spare room.

“I think she deserves an award for helping so many families and raising awareness of landfill in the Sunderland area. Definitely a local hero.”

Yet despite the praise, Dianne was stunned to be nominated and said: “I had seen projects like this in other parts of the region and always wanted to start one in Sunderland.”

“I am over the moon to be nominated.”

Forage joins a great list of nominations for this year’s competition but we want more.

This year’s competition has backing from headline sponsor BGL, partner sponsor Utility Alliance, partner sponsor Gentoo, and category sponsors Marelli and the North East Autism Society.

We thank them all for getting on board, and now comes your turn to get involved.

We hope you will inundate us with entries and make the job of the judges that much harder.

Take a look at the categories, read the entry instructions, and your favourite cause will be a step closer to hopefully winning a Best of Wearside title.


Community Group of the Year; Student of the Year; Green Champion of the Year; Child of Courage; Child of Achievement; Young Voice of Wearside; Fundraiser of the Year; Volunteer of the Year; Sporting Achievement of the Year; Community Champion Award.


To nominate, just send your name, address and telephone number, as well as your email address, if applicable. Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into.

Also send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).

Send all of that to Lynn Wild by no later than March 2. Judging of all the entries will be held that same week with the finale at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, April 1.

There are three ways to nominate.

l Email those entries to [email protected]

l Post them to Lynn Wild, North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), Wearfield Enterprise Park East, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR5 2TA.

l Visit the website at