An Open Letter to Kim Johnson MP from Feeding Liverpool

Kim Johnson, MP,

Liverpool Riverside

Dear Kim,
I am writing as a trustee of Micah Liverpool, on behalf of Feeding Liverpool and our partners across Liverpool. We want to ask you to raise in Parliament, the key role our food partnership has taken on in the local emergency food response to Covid-19, helping to keep local communities fed and local businesses going. We work with a small staff resource and a wide range of volunteers, both now and preceding the pandemic to
ensure our residents, refugees and asylum seekers have access to healthy and sustainable food.

We think this is a better way of Government supporting communities with emergency food both during and in recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, as it is one which support local assets, responds to local needs and provides better return on public investment’

This work has proven to be invaluable locally, but we are aware that not all areas have resource or local authority support to set up a food partnership or keep it going, and we want your help in changing this.

We ask you to highlight the local examples outlined in this letter and urge Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to support the establishment of a local food partnership in every local authority area in the UK.

We are a member of the UK Sustainable Food Places Network (SFP) since 2014, SFP is organising a Day of Celebration and Action 10th of June to showcase the incredible work local food partnerships are doing across the UK to meet the needs arising from the current crisis while continuing to work towards a healthy, equitable and sustainable food system for all. The Day of Celebration is happening on social media under the hashtag #goodfoodtogether. Alongside this celebration, the SFP Network is calling on the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick MP to support one food partnership in every local area. The letter has the support of over 30 leading national food and farming organisations including the Food Foundation, FareShare, the Royal Society for Public Health, the Food Farming and Countryside Commission, N8 AgriFood programme, the London Food Board as well as Councillors, Directors of Public Health and prominent academics and experts including Professor Tim Lang and Jeanette Orrey MBE.

As you know the situation is changing on a daily basis; the demographic of recipients is also changing somewhat due to changes in circumstances of families and individuals. Below are just a few snapshots of the amazing work we and our local partners across public, community and the business sectors have been involved in, both during and before the pandemic.

Led by an ecumenical steering group, Feeding Liverpool is made up of a network of people who are
concerned about hunger and food insecurity Liverpool. Together we want to transform the unjust structures within our society that contribute to the root causes of food poverty.

In ‘normal’ times the aims of Feeding Liverpool are to:

Create arenas for practitioners to share and shape good practices in relation to tackling hunger and food insecurity in Liverpool
Draw on experiences from the ground to contribute to and influence policy debates locally and nationally
Raise awareness and develop greater public understanding of food policy and related issues
Our usual role has involved supporting a wide range of organisations that provide food aid, but not
delivering front line services ourselves.

Since CV-19, however, Feeding Liverpool has played a key role in the procurement and distribution of food supplies to support vulnerable households across Liverpool, using funds secured through our relationship with Feeding Britain (

Since the start of April we have supported the food supply of organisations who together have distributed 7,654 food parcels to households across Liverpool. We have also distributed 1416 ambient ready meals and
600 activity packs aimed at children aged 4 – 7 years.

Feeding Liverpool’s partners are involved directly in providing food aid to people across the city. Most work in partnership with FareShare; in addition, local people, groups and organisations have been really generous in supporting work with most vulnerable. Just a few examples of the work during the CV19 pandemic
is briefly outlined here: –

Micah Liverpool has continued socially distanced,
face to face food bank in two venues, on the road outside St Vincent’s church, and on the steps of St Bride’s church. The impact of CV19 has seen an increase in need, in May we fed 1318 people per week, including 260 families with children. The demographic of recipients prior to CV19 were predominantly asylum seekers, this has changed. There has been an increase in families accessing the food bank at St Brides, an increase in the number of homeless; victims of domestic violence and those awaiting Universal Credit payments.

Due to the difficulty of social distancing the other food banks have had to be innovative and creative and consider other ways of feeding hungry people. The North and South Liverpool Foodbank have changed the way they work, delivering food to local addresses in May their combined delivery was 951 food parcels including 322 households with children.

St Georges Pantry has continued to support households in Everton ward to access affordable, nutritious food. Pantry members can receive weekly food parcel delivery
including fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and ambient, chilled and frozen
products. During May 2020, 78 different households were supported with 269
deliveries, including 150 deliveries to households with children. An increase of 84 food parcels from April to May.

Pantry membership normally costs £3.50 per week; membership fees were waved during April and May due to the generous support of the ward councillor. They have a team of 12 volunteers who have supported the pantry during this time.

Nugent care provide a food market in Epsom Street, during May they provided 349 food parcels, 93 to
households with children.

Kensington Fields Community Association have provided 1905 food parcels during May, including 1327 to households with children.

Liverpool 11 food hub comprising 7 organisations in the local area provided 277 emergency food
parcels in May, 125 to households with children.

During the pandemic as you will know a number of COViD groups that have set up across the city and in each community with support from local councillors. Some provide hot meals. Many more people are volunteering their time to cook, donate, deliver and care for their family, friends, neighbours, those with underlying
conditions and the most vulnerable in society.

Sharing and adopting models of good practice in other places

Feeding Liverpool is part of the wider Sustainable Food Places Network that enables practitioners generously to share what they are doing, how they are overcoming common barriers, and what funding and services can be drawn on to support the Covid-19 emergency food response and work around securing healthy and
sustainable food locally more generally. The Network runs webinars publishes guidance and connects with those with professional expertise on a variety of food issues and practices.

Feeding Liverpool is an ecumenical partnership which aims to bring together a range of partners to listen and
capture the voices and stories of those closest to delivery of food aid.

Our food partnership is a cross-sector partnership including: Together Liverpool, Micah Liverpool; North
Liverpool Foodbank; South Liverpool Foodbank; St Andrews Pantry; St Georges Pantry Everton; Liverpool 11 Hub; FareShare; Christ Church Toxteth Park; Nugent Care, Epsom Street; L6 Centre; Mencap; Foodcycle; Croxteth Gems; Triple C; Rhys Jones Centre; Croxteth Family Matters; Kinship Carers; Norris Green Community Alliance; Kensington Fields Community Centre; Liverpool Food Action
Network; Liverpool City Council benefit maximisation team and public health, Housing Associations and Citizens Advice Bureau.

We are a member of the Sustainable Food Places Network (previously called Sustainable Food Cities) one of the fastest-growing social movements nationally, bringing together over 60 food partnerships from towns, cities, boroughs, districts and counties across the UK that are driving innovation and good practice on all aspects of healthy and sustainable food.

We would welcome an opportunity to present the extraordinary work of our members in more detail and any future connection with you on food matters that impact your constituents in Liverpool Riverside.

Yours sincerely,

Annette James

Trustee Micah Liverpool

On behalf of Feeding Liverpool