Resurrected Bites founder thanks Stray Ferret readers for ‘godsend’ employee
Last updated Oct 26, 2023
A photo of Michelle Hayes, founder of Resurrected Bites in Harrogate, with operations manager Chris Lidgitt, who she hired with money raised by last year's Stray Ferret Christmas charity campaign.
Michelle Hayes and Chris Lidgitt of Resurrected Bites.

An employee hired using money raised by last year’s Stray Ferret Christmas campaign has been a “godsend”, the founder of Resurrected Bites has said. 

Michelle Hayes said the £30,000 raised by the Stray Ferret’s campaign was more than expected and a “massive bonus”, enabling the charity to take on ex-military man Chris Lidgitt. She said Chris had helped to bring a dose of order and professionalism to operations since joining in April. 

Michelle, who set up the charity in 2018 to combat food poverty in the Harrogate district, said: 

I was covering more roles than I could reasonably do, so the time had come when we needed to employ an operations manager. Chris came at just the right time – he’s been a godsend. 

“I’d just like to say a huge thank-you to Stray Ferret readers for all the support they’ve given us – not just for the money, but also for the opportunity to showcase how it is for people living in food poverty. It shouldn’t be hidden away – we should be talking about it.” 

Chris previously had a farm shop, and before that ran hotels and pubs, but it was his time in the army that arguably made the greatest impression on him.  

He spent four-and-a-half years as a soldier in the Life Guards, which is part of the Household Cavalry. He said: 

“I loved it, but then I stupidly said I could play the trumpet, so that’s what I did!” 

He played at numerous state occasions, including the State Opening of Parliament, and even played on the Champs Elysées in Paris for France’s Bastille Day celebrations. 

Chris’s role as operations manager for Resurrected Bites is a far cry from playing for presidents, but he says it’s not an easier job. He said: 

“It’s been quite hands-on over the last six months – a baptism of fire. I’ve done everything: worked in the warehouse, in both groceries, and in the kitchen as a chef – just making sure everything is operationally working to a high standard. 

“It’s been a real eye-opener. We live in such an affluent town that you wouldn’t think there’d be so many people in need, but there really are. Hearing the stories of some of the people who use our services can be heart-breaking, but this is a damn sight more rewarding than anything else I’ve ever done.” 

Tackling food poverty in Harrogate and Knaresborough

Michelle set up Resurrected Bites with the aim of reducing food waste, loneliness and food poverty in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

It now runs Give As You Can cafés and shops at Gracious Street Methodist Church in Knaresborough on Fridays, at St Paul’s United Reformed Church in Harrogate on Wednesdays, and at Killinghall Methodist Church on Thursdays. These are open to everyone and visitors are simply asked to pay whatever they feel the food is worth or what they can afford.

The charity also runs a community groceries scheme with bases in Harrogate and Knaresborough for people in food poverty. 

Research shows that one in five children are living in poverty in the Harrogate district, and Michelle says the problem is growing. 

She said: 

“One the one hand, the cost-of-living crisis is really biting, and on the other hand, the amount of food we’re intercepting from landfill is less than it was five years ago. Supermarkets are better now at reducing waste, and some are also giving their own employees first refusal on leftover food. 

“That makes it harder to meet the needs of local people living in food poverty, so we’d really like to find new suppliers who can give us any food that would otherwise go to waste.  

“It costs about £15,000 a month to do what we do, but our income is under £6,000, which means we’re still running at a significant deficit, so we’re also looking for corporate sponsorship and individual donors.

“Winter is coming and we’ll need all the help we can get, so if you can help in any way, please get in touch.”

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