As the cost of living continues to challenge families across the UK, one Basildon based aerospace engineering company has been doing its bit to help.

Since March the aerospace engineering company Leonardo, in Christopher Martin Road, has collaborated with food donation company Olio to donate excess food from its sites in Basildon, Yeovil, Edinburgh, Luton, and Southampton.

It has managed to “rescue” 76 meals, which have gone on to feed 19 families in the area.

This has saved 137kgs of Co2 from entering the atmosphere, preventing 24,000 litres of water from going to waste. This is equivalent to planting six trees, and taking 466 car miles off the road.

Olio is a mobile app where neighbours and local shops and cafes can share surplus food so that local communities can benefit.

Food safety trained volunteers collect and check the food at the end of each day, then add it to the app so that people living nearby can request it and pick it up.

Echo: Donating food - Darren Neville at the Basildon siteDonating food - Darren Neville at the Basildon site (Image: Leonardo UK)

Zevi Watmough, Leonardo sustainability spokesman, said: “Olio allows families to access food privately for free, rather than relying on food banks in their local area. This private approach allows people to avoid any sense of stigma, which is particularly important when they are already going through a difficult time.

“We are grateful to Olio for the work that they do and we also value the fact that reducing food waste has the benefit of lowering the carbon footprint of our operations in the local community.”

Launched in 2015 with the sole purpose of tackling food waste, Olio now has more than 8.5 million users worldwide, and a UK network of more than 97,000 Food Waste Heroes.

The scheme emerged when Tessa Clarke, co-founder and CEO of Olio realised she had perfectly edible food her family hadn’t managed to eat when she was moving home. It was from this moment that the idea for Olio was born.

Leonardo is one of the UK's leading aerospace companies and one of biggest suppliers of defence and security equipment to the UK MOD.