Music icon Ricky Wilson from the Kaiser Chiefs and TV chef Ainsley Harriott have sent special messages in support of a village food project in Huddersfield.

The band’s frontman is a friend of Huddersfield restaurant owner Ben Franco who helped set up Almondbury Smash Food Share and has this Christmas urged Huddersfield people to rally around and give a bit of money for the project which has now been running for more than three years.

It operates from St Michael & St Helen’s Church in Almondbury and, in his video, Ricky says: “People are always brilliant at helping the Smash Food Share and we need your help more than ever so if you can help out, please do. It’s a marvellous thing and you’re all doing an amazing job.”

In his video Ainsley says: “All of you at Smash are doing a fantastic job helping those that need help and, without guys like you, things just don’t get done.”

Ben, who owns The Barn restaurant in Almondbury, helped set up Smash Food Share in 2021.

At first they made meals to give away to people struggling to afford food. But as time has gone on and the cost of living crisis has hit exceptionally hard it’s transformed into a food share scheme providing everything from food to nappies.

The idea is that people take along to the scheme at St Michael & St Helen’s Church on Friday mornings and then take what they need but the donations are nowhere near enough to keep it running and it desperately needs more money to provide essentials.

Ben said: “Last year we raised £3,000 for Smash Food Share which was enough to help keep it running right through until August.

“There is a severe need for this project out there in the community, never more so than now, so we are appealing for people just to donate what they can in terms of some money through our GoFundMe page.”

Ben has been involved in helping others with food-related schemes since the start of the pandemic in 2020 when he made hundreds of free meals for the elderly, the vulnerable and the housebound which were distributed from Rowley’s newsagent on Northgate in Almondbury.

He then worked with catering company owner Amanda Guest from Holmfirth and her brother John Brownhill to help set up Food4Heroes serving food outside Huddersfield Royal Infirmary for NHS staff struggling to eat during the pandemic … a scheme which then spread nationwide.

WATCH Ricky Wilson’s video on the Huddersfield Hub Facebook page HERE. Don’t forget to like and follow our page too!

Smash Food Share was set up in April 2021 with more than 100 families and individuals now seeking help every Friday morning from 9.30am to 12noon, giving what they can and taking what they need.

The project has been supported by the church’s congregation, Almondbury Methodist Church, local schools, Morrisons Waterloo, Almondbury ward councillors, the Co-op and Almondbury Post Office and One Stop which has collection baskets for the community to fill each week. 

To help keep the scheme going donate to Ben’s GoFundMe page HERE

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.