A SHOPPING centre has announced has become the first in the UK to work in partnership with a food sharing scheme.

Churchill Square will work with Olio to reduce its waste output by making any food that can no longer be sold available to the community.

The free app gained more than 7,500 sign-ups in Brighton since 2015 and has grown five-fold since the beginning of the pandemic.

Centre director, Mark Buchanan-Smith said: “Churchill Square is constantly looking for ways to reduce waste, so collaborating with Olio is a brilliant way to tackle food waste alongside the other initiatives we have implemented.

"Our work with olio will make us their first shopping centre partner in the UK, demonstrating our commitment to leading the way in waste reduction in the sector.

“Food waste is a massive problem, and as highlighted at COP26 recently, the food sector is responsible for more than 30 per cent of total climate emissions.

"It’s a problem we want to do our best to reduce.

"Olio also offers numerous other benefits to the community including reducing loneliness and helping people to connect as well as tackling food poverty in the area. We’re delighted to work with them.”

A year ago, the company launched an initiative with all 2,700 of Tesco’s stores, taking food nearing the end of its shelf life and redistributing it locally via volunteers known as "food waste heroes".

As the first shopping centre partner, Churchill Square will adopt the same system and a Food Waste Hero will list items from Churchill Square’s food outlets, and stores that stock perishable items, making them available to people in the local area.

Tessa Clarke, co-founder at Olio said:“This is a fantastic new partnership, that we hope will pave the way for more shopping centres across the UK to sign up to Olio’s food waste hero programme.

"Aside from the clear planet-saving benefits that becoming a zero food waste retailer has, signing up as an OLIO partner brings businesses and communities together, working towards one sustainable goal.

"We look forward to getting to know more businesses and volunteers across Brighton.”