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Elior throws support behind Refettorio Felix

Leading contract caterer Elior UK has got behind Refettorio Felix – arranging supply drops and extra staff for the vibrant community kitchen and drop-in centre. The initiative – based at St. Cuthbert’s Centre in Earl’s Court – transforms surplus food into delicious three-course meals; providing a nourishing, calming space for vulnerable and isolated people. These include rough sleepers, the homeless, and those struggling with their mental health.

As well as providing delicious meals made with surplus food donations, the Centre also provides group support sessions, counselling, and facilities for people to wash themselves and their clothes.

Charlotte Wright, corporate social responsibility manager, Elior UK, said: “Thriving people and communities is one of the four pillars of our CSR strategy, so Refettorio Felix is a natural fit for us. It really does feed body and soul, giving people the support they need to flourish. However, we’re also committed to achieving zero food waste by 2025. We’re making good progress, which means we actually have very little surplus food to donate. But we’ve found other ways to support Refettorio Felix. It’s such a fantastic initiative, we just had to find a way to get involved.”

One of the ways Elior has supported the project is by encouraging Elior colleagues to take paid leave and volunteer their services working front of house or in the kitchen. The leading contract caterer has also hosted several lunches at the venue, where senior Elior colleagues have made some very generous donations. But perhaps the biggest impact has come from Elior using its influence with suppliers.

Wright added: “Our suppliers have really stepped up to answer the call, offering everything from carrots and parsnips for Christmas dinner right through to the latest kitchen equipment. Bunzl Lockhart, in particular, has been absolutely fantastic, and recently donated every single thing on the project’s hospitality equipment wish-list. The tableware, cutlery, glassware – everything.”

Elior was first introduced to Refettorio Felix by Patricia Biggers: vice president of Lazard Asset Management and a trustee of Refettorio Felix and St. Cuthbert’s Centre.

Biggers said: “My first connection with Elior was with Elior Group in Paris, in my capacity as a portfolio manager. I remember being struck by its deeply held commitment to CSR, which we share. I noted Elior UK was doing outstanding work in this regard and was promptly introduced to Charlotte Wright. Charlotte was instantly enamoured with the work Refettorio Felix does and has become a hugely valuable asset to the project, galvanizing much needed support, for which I’m extremely grateful.”

Refettorio Felix is an 11-table dining room based in St. Cuthbert’s Church, Earl’s Court. It hosts a lunch service for 60-80 guests Monday to Friday, all year-round. To get in touch regarding supporting the project, please email info@stcuthbertscentre.org.uk