German supermarket Aldi have announced two of their stores will be joining a donating surplus food scheme to help vulnerable people in the area.

Loughton and Harlow based-stores are the latest branches to sign up to Waste Less and Safer Places schemes, a services that cuts food waste and offers support to victims of domestic abuse respectively.

The new partnership follows on from a successful trial between the supermarket and community engagement platform, Neighbourly, which has already donated one million meals to charities across the UK.

Aldi has paired up 19 stores in Essex with local good causes that are now collecting surplus food up to five days a week.

Last year the supermarket donated two million meals to charity and expects to increase this by 50 per cent now the trial has been extended to its more than 830 stores.

Fritz Walleczek, managing director of corporate responsibility at Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “We’re always looking for new and creative ways to increase the amount of food we are able to donate.

“This partnership is enabling us to distribute even more surplus stock, while supporting a vast range of good causes, across Essex.

“Our aim is for fresh, healthy food to be accessible for everyone, and Neighbourly are helping us to extend this commitment beyond our affordable range of fresh products.”

Steve Butterworth, Neighbourly CEO said "We are delighted to be partnering with Aldi on this programme and to help them realise their ambition to benefit those communities local to each and every one of their stores across the UK.

Food surplus is a challenge Aldi is committed to playing its part to address. This approach is critical to ensure surplus food finds its way easily to the good causes supporting those communities that need it most."

Any local charities in Epping Forest looking to partner up with an Aldi store should email to apply.