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University donates to local organisations

The University's Accommodation, Catering and Events team (ACE) do their best to reduce waste and support local organisation wherever they can.

The University's Accommodation, Catering and Events team provides catered and self-catered residential accommodation for over 10,000 students, including community and welfare support through its Residence Life service.

They also operate 20 cafes and a range of other catering products to students and staff across the University estate. Under their commercial brand, Edinburgh First, they deliver hotel accommodation options to around 200,000 guests each year, plus an extensive selection of conference, catering and event services to over 2,000 events.

ACE donating to Empty Kitchens
Head Chef Neil Mackenzie & Sous Chef Ralf Heck donating to Empty Kitchens

Food  donations

Over the last 18 months, the team have donated surplus food to a range of charities including “Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts" and to the FareShare project in Leith operated by Cyrenians. The ACE team contact the charities and ask if they would like to receive donations. At the start of lockdown  in March 2020, the team donated a substantial amount of perishable foods to the FareShare in Leith, operated by the Cyrenians, to help these organisatins keep up with the high demand of food that was needed. 

Investing in social good

In 2011, the University of Edinburgh became the first higher education institute to partner with Coffee Conscience, a Scotland-based supplier that provides Fairtrade hot drinks to businesses, public buildings and cafes across the country.

The supplier reinvests 2.5% of its Fairtrade sales back into community projects, working with the social enterprise Fruitful Scotland, which provides workshop support for local schools and charities to plant apple trees.

Since the beginning of the partnership, the University’s sales of Coffee Conscience products has helped reinvest enough funding to plant 1,000 trees in the Lothian region, including a large number at its Easter Bush campus, as well as at care homes, parks, community land,  and local schools.

The 1,000th tree was recently placed at Cramond Park, with the support of local school children and The Commonwealth Orchard, a Scottish-based organisation dedicated to regenerating the country through the development of apple orchards and re-introduction of local heritage varieties.

Giving for good

Each Christmas they encourage colleagues and students to donate unwrapped toys and gifts, to be packaged up and sent to the Salvation Army as part of its ‘Give a gift and light up a life’ appeal. The team collect boxes of toys, including teddy bears, dolls and books for infants, children and teenagers.

More information

Sustainability | The University of Edinburgh

Good Food Policy | The University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh Accommodation & Catering | Who we are | UOE Accommodation