Category: News

Good Food Plan Partners Respond to the Government Food Strategy

Last summer the National Food Strategy, led by Henry Dimbleby, was published. An extensive report which set out a series of recommendations for developing and improving the food system, it was described as a “wake up call to this country and government to do something about our food system and the epidemic of obesity and ill health destroying our country”

On Monday 13th June 2022 the Government published its response to this report in the Government Food Strategy Policy Paper.

With many expressing disappointment and frustration at the lack of detail and concrete actions set out in the government’s responses, Good Food Plan partners issued the following comments:

Food Active

“This strategy was supposed to position the UK as a world leader in food and environmental issues and address important public health challenges such as food insecurity, obesity and climate change.

Today’s response is just another missed opportunity by the Government to show their commitment to prioritising population health.

We can only hope that the upcoming Health Disparities White Paper includes the bold action that is needed to support communities across the country to access healthy food.” Nicola Calder, Food Active Programme Lead

Read Food’s Active’s full response: Food Active | Food Strategy White Paper: Food Active Response

Feedback

“Rather than committing to doing something about the fact we now have 31% of all children living in poverty, this paper fails to support an additional 1.5 million children with free school meals as recommended by Henry Dimbleby. Very little is offered beyond the already existing Holidays Activities and Food (HAF) programme, which is itself underfunded, and the Healthy Start scheme, which, following digitalisation, is now failing to reach eligible families. Instead, the status quo of eligibility based on households earning less than £7,400 a year remains.

The opportunity to create those much vaunted Levelling Up options is missed. The consultation emphasised the importance of giving all the public equal access to affordable healthy food. That’s been pushed off to the Health Disparities paper due who knows when? Moreover, the onus is once again placed on individual choice and education, rather than addressing the issues of availability. Perhaps the concept of living in a food desert (as some 77% of residents of one area of Merseyside do) is an alien one. But it is a real problem for too many.

There’s one mention of hunger in this paper and that’s in relation to food aid overseas. It may be unpalatable to those in government to think about hunger in relation to their own citizens, but with an increase of 81% in people regularly accessing food aid in five years and over 7.1 million admitting to skipping a meal because they cannot afford to eat, the stark reality is, our citizens are hungry and those numbers will only increase as the cost of living (or surviving) continues to grow.” Lucy Antal, Feedback Food Justice Expert

Read Feedback’s full response: Government Food Strategy – Feedback’s response. – Feedback (feedbackglobal.org)

Sustain

“In the face of multiple crises in the cost of living, rocketing obesity, climate change and nature loss, the government food strategy looks shamefully weak. Government was given crystal clear analysis and a set of recommendations by the Dimbleby food strategy, and has chosen to take forward only a handful of them. This isn’t a strategy, it’s a feeble to do list, that may or may not get ticked.

The commitment to a land use strategy is welcome, which could better balance our food production and responsibility to our natural environment. Support for sustainable UK horticulture could improve affordable access to healthy fruit, veg and pulses. The push to include more local and sustainable food in public sector food, if implemented, could have a powerful impact. And a move to introduce mandatory reporting for food businesses on health would be a step forward. But none of this is underpinned by legislation.

In this document, the Government acknowledges the National Food Strategy analysis that a junk food cycle exists, and that people on lower incomes find it harder to access an affordable healthy diet. However, the recent government U-turn on child obesity measures has shown that even measures introduced in statute are vulnerable to pressure from vested interests. And where is the support for people struggling to eat in this cost of living crisis? We need decent wages and adequate social security benefits to weather the current storm. The Government will need to take much more and stronger action soon if it is to drive the changes in our food system needed to protect people and the planet.” Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive of Sustain

Read Sustain’s full response: Our response to food white paper- “A feeble to do list, that may or may not get ticked’ | Sustain (sustainweb.org)

Sustainable Food Places

“We’re pleased with the recognition of the value of food partnerships, but without support, funding or a statutory requirement for local areas to set up food partnerships and forge ahead with food plans, there will be little difference on the ground for local authorities struggling with budget cuts to public health and dealing with rising food insecurity.” Leon Ballin, Sustainable Food Places Programme Manager

Read Sustainable Food Places full response: Government Food Strategy: Much ado about nothing, an empty plate at a time of hunger and uncertainty | Sustainable Food Places

Feeding Britain

“At first glance this looks like a bowl of thin gruel being served up to families who are struggling to put food on the table.

“While it is noteworthy that the free school meals threshold is to be kept under review, this strategy should have been the Prime Minister’s moment to ride to the rescue of those families – often working for low wages – who are in desperate need of that help now.” Andrew Forsey, Director of Feeding Britain

Read Feeding Britain’s response:  Boris Johnson’s food expert hits out at PM for ditching new wave of free school meals – Mirror Online

(wjarek / Getty Images)

Trade Union Leaders Demand National Food Emergency Summit

Scores of trade union leaders, academics and campaigners have today signed a joint letter calling  on the UK Government, the devolved administrations, mayoralties and local councils to organise a national summit to help deliver a plan to help feed people and ensure that their basic needs are met.

The many signatories, including Sharon Graham General Sec of Unite the Union, Sarah Wolley General Sec of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, and Dave Ward General Sec of the Communication Workers Union, together with over a dozen more trade union leaders, Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, Professor Kate Pickett co-author of The Spirit Level, and Professor Alex Colas coordinator of the Food and Work Network make it clear that Britain is experiencing a National Food Emergency and that urgent action is needed.    

Local signatories include Ian Bryne MP and co-founder of Fans Supporting Foodbanks, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, Professor Bryce Evans, Professor Ian Sinha and Dr Naomi Maynard.

In the letter they state:

As things stand millions of people in the UK are today feeling insecure about food. Inflation is the highest it’s been in 40 years, with food prices, alongside energy costs, at record levels. Millions of people, including millions of children, are unable to meet their basic needs. Destitution is on the rise and reliance on food banks is normalised.”

It is against this context that we have an ‘earnings and income crisis’ (not simply a cost of living crisis), and so, in calling for a National Food Emergency, we believe that the UK Government and the devolved administrations should work together to deliver:

  • A rise in the National Minimum Wage to at least £15 an hour – to guarantee workers a real Living Wage
  • An immediate and substantial increase to Universal Credit – restoring the £20 uplift, uprating benefits to keep pace with rising prices and bills, and removing the 5 week wait
  • Provide universal free school meals for every child throughout the year
  • Ban “zero hours” contracts and guarantee workers predictable incomes they can live on
  • Enshrine the Right to Food in law”

“We call on the TUC, the wider Trade Union movement, all political parties, religious leaders, academics, researchers, campaigners and all the people of this country to demand that Government’s act now to call a National Food Emergency and address the food crisis that is facing so many people.”

 Read the full letter

Survey for All-Party Parliamentary Group inquiry into ending the need for foodbanks

An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has launched an inquiry into ending the need for foodbanks. This inquiry – Cash or food? Exploring effective responses to destitution – will explore how our communities and government should address the drivers of need for food banks, exploring respective merits of providing cash, ‘in-kind’ support (for example, vouchers), or emergency food, to support people facing destitution.

Over the next few weeks organisations are able to submit written submissions on this topic.  It is important for Liverpool to respond to this enquiry and ensure our voice, experiences and thinking on this issue is heard.

Gathering information via a short survey and case studies, Feeding Liverpool will coordinate a city submission as part of our role leading Liverpool’s Good Food Plan.

If your organisation is involved in any aspect of crisis support, please complete this survey, which should take approximately 10 minutes, by Wednesday 29th June.

Organisations are also able to submit their own submissions if they prefer. Information is available at: www.trusselltrust.org/what-we-do/research-advocacy/appg-ending-food-banks/ 

Individuals who have used a foodbank or other forms of crisis support have been encouraged by the enquiry to also submit written responses. Full details are available here. Please get in touch if you require assistance to complete this.

 

Tom Davies EFC Supports Liverpool’s Good Food Plan

Everton in the Community is delighted to align itself alongside Liverpool’s Good Food Plan as part of its new initiative to tackle food insecurity with a food pantry in L4.

Everton FC midfielder Tom Davies has pledged his support to Liverpool’s Good Food Plan.

Davies said: “We want to create a city where everyone can eat good food. No matter who you are, there is a role for you to play to ensure that everyone in Liverpool has access to good food.”

The midfielder was recently recognised for his charitable and community efforts by being named Everton’s PFA Community Champion for 2021/22.

On winning the award Davies said: “I’m deeply proud of where I come from. The people of this city have always looked out for each other and I’m well aware that I’m in a position where I’m able to do that and make positive changes.”

Good Food Programme Director Dr Naomi Maynard said: “Everton in the Community have been brilliant advocate for Liverpool’s Good Food Plan over the last year, together we want to live in a city where everyone can eat good food. Thank you EitC for your continued support and for this message from Tom encouraging others to get involved.”

Liverpool’s Good Food Plan is a plan that addresses key issues related to the food we eat in Liverpool including; food insecurity; access to and take-up of healthy, nutritious food; the impact the food we eat is having on our planet; and the practices by which the food we eat is produced.

Watch Tom Davies support Liverpool’s Good Food Plan below.

Feeding Liverpool welcomes five new trustees

Feeding Liverpool is delighted to announce our board is growing with five new trustees recently joining. This takes us to 11 trustees each with an array of skills and experience that will elevate Liverpool’s Good Food Plan to new and exciting levels.

Please welcome Charlotte, Gary, Michelle, Verity, and Victoria!

Dr. Charlotte Hardman

Charlotte is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Liverpool with more than 20 years’ experience doing academic research on the psychology of food-related behaviours. She is passionate about tackling food insecurity and the role of community food growing in creating a healthy, sustainable, and equitable food system.

Gary Stott

Gary has worked in the social impact sector for 30 years. He is the co-founder and Executive Chairman of Community Shop, the UK’s first Social Supermarket Chain. He works across the UK on issues of food and community resilience.

Michelle O’Dwyer

Michelle is a professional chef and director of Bay Tree Cookery Academy CIC. Michelle partners with food suppliers and local community organisations to ensure that food that would otherwise be wasted gets to where it is needed most. She supports communities with access not just to fresh, healthy food but the skills to turn it into exciting nutritious meals.

Verity Hall

Verity moved to Liverpool in 2010 as a student studying Biochemistry. She is the founder of vegi, a plant-powered platform for local businesses and their customers to make shopping healthy, local, and plant-based more convenient. You’ll find Verity at Purple Carrot on Smithdown Road and nurturing her balcony vegetable garden.

Victoria Collins

Victoria lives in Crosby with her husband. She’s a big LFC fan with 15 years of food retail experience. Victoria has a passion for helping communities access the support available from their local retailers.

Hilary Russell, Feeding Liverpool’s co-chair says: “The interest generated and the range of excellent candidates was really encouraging when we were recruiting new trustees and we are now thrilled to be joined by a set of new people with the experience, expertise and enthusiasm to lead Feeding Liverpool into the next phase of delivering the Good Food Plan.”

Everton in the Community to launch food pantry

Everton in the Community (EitC) is launching their Blue Base Community Pantry on Thursday 26th May 2022 in partnership with Fans Supporting Foodbanks and St Andrew’s Community Network.

The pantry will run every Thursday (except 2nd of June due to bank holiday) from 10am – 12noon at The Blue Base, Salop Street, Liverpool, L4 4BZ. Free car parking is available on site.

The pantry is not means tested, but members must either:

  • Live within the Blue Base boundary map, which can be located on the downloadable flyer below.
  • Have a child that attends a school within the Blue Base boundary map (but may live outside of the boundary), or
  • Be an existing EitC programme participant.

Members will pay £3.50 per visit and in return will receive approximately £20 worth of goods including hygiene products, fresh fruit and veg, meat, dairy, frozen and ambient products.

Throughout the year EitC will also have free, wrap around services available such as an onsite GP, a benefit, debt, and welfare specialist, housing officers, and various physical and wellbeing activities.

Free tea, coffee, and toast will be available for all members to enjoy each week.

To sign up, families will need to either email: [email protected], phone: 0151 319 4018, or attend the pantry in person.

Registration is free, but EitC are limited to 150 members and advise people to sign up early to avoid disappointment.

Download a flyer for more information and to view the Blue Base boundary map here.

Made in Liverpool: This land is our land

Guardian documentary Made in Liverpool: This Land is our land, the fifth episode of the Made in Britain series, centres on Kensington Fields Community Association telling the story of their community centre, food pantry, frustrations at the changes to their community, and the launch of Kensington Fields Community Land Trust.

The Guardian have worked in partnership with Feeding Liverpool, Church Action on Poverty and local filmmakers, and have encouraged the local community to shape the story they wanted to tell.

Jennifer Graham, our Good Food Programme Network Coordinator, spent the past few months filming the team and pantry users at Kensington Fields Community Association. Jennifer says:

“It has been a privilege to film the warm and welcoming community of Kenny Fields and to help shape their story with integrity. As well as learning new skills during this process, I’ve been able to directly support a local community food space that has been a lifeline for many during the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis.”

Feeding Liverpool are lead partners of Liverpool’s Good Food Plan, a city-wide strategy born from the belief that together, we can create a city where everyone can eat Good Food. Goal 3 of the Good Food Plan, Enabling Food Citizenship states: “We want to enable people to have the power, voice, resources and motivation to shape their local food environments and the food system as a whole.”

Dr Naomi Maynard, Good Food Programme Director says:

“We have been delighted to be a part of this collaboration which has, right from the start, been about enabling local people to share the story of what matters to their community. My hope is that through watching this documentary, brought to life through the passion and commitment of the residents of Kensington Fields, others will be inspired to take the first steps towards shaping their local food environment, and telling their own community’s story.”

You can watch Made in Liverpool: This Land is our Land on The Guardian website here or YouTube here.

You can make donations to Kensington Fields Community Association through their Just Giving page here.

Kellogg’s plans to sue UK Government

Kellogg’s, the owner of brands from Coco Pops to Special K, has this week launched a legal action against the UK government over new junk food rules that will ban some cereals from being prominently displayed on supermarket shelves.

Kellogg’s, began its legal action against the Department of Health and Social Care on Wednesday. As the Guardian explain, The case marks an important test of the rule changes, which also include a ban on junk food advertising online and before 9pm on TV from next year. The government stands by the new regime and is fighting the Kellogg’s action to stop a precedent being set that could allow other brands to circumvent the restrictions.

Good Food plan partner Food Active respond to this news:

 

Full List of HAF Easter Providers

The Easter Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme starts on 11th April and there are lots of great activities happening over the school holidays for children, aged from reception to 16 years old, who are eligible for benefits related free school meals.

Children across Liverpool will be able to access hundreds of activities throughout the Easter break including specific provision available for children with SEND or additional needs. There’s a great range of activities across the city including boxing, trampolining, football, music, dance, cycling, cooking, climbing, films, bowling, arts and crafts, drama, a make up course, trips out and much more!  Every day there will be a meal available for every child that attends.

To find out where schemes are in your ward click here or visit www.merseyplay.com and click on the Easter HAF link.

Below is the current list of organisations but the website has the most up to date information so do check there first.

Parents/guardians/carers can choose an activity, then contact that organisation to book a place. If the child has any additional needs or dietary requirements then you can discuss this with the organisation when you book.

The programme is funded by the Department for Education. 100 programmes have been funded across the city and many of them are taking part in a growing project which will provide organisations with the tools to develop or enhance a community growing project in order to teach young people about growing their own fruit and veg.

The Winter HAF programme saw 5823 young people engage with the programme and 37,763 meals provided.

Full list of HAF Easter Providers 2022

Establishing Partnerships Event Resources

In February 2022, with Liverpool Food Growers Network, we held a networking event bringing together community food growers with other community food spaces such as food pantries and food banks with the aim of facilitating connections, eating good food, and learning from other organisations who have already established these partnerships. St Michael in the City, home to Roots in the City – a community garden led by Faiths4Change in the heart of Liverpool city centre – provided the perfect location to bring these two groups together.

We began the session with a speed dating-inspired activity, giving everyone the opportunity to introduce themselves and the work of their organisations. The room was buzzing for over half an hour as every couple of minutes attendees met someone new.

After the speed dating, we went straight into lunch which was cooked on site by Rachel from Faiths4Change, delicious soup and salad with sourdough bread baked that morning by nearby Baltic Bakehouse. To add to the sense of place, some of the fresh ingredients were harvested from the Roots in the City community garden.

Following on from lunch, we had the opportunity to hear from three local organisations and their food partnerships; Grow Speke, Faiths4Change, and Micah.

 

Brendan from Grow Speke talked about their partnership with SLH’s The Market Place. You can watch his talk below.

Brendan’s presentation can be viewed here.

A full transcript can be viewed here.

 

Rachel from Faiths4Change talked about their partnership with Micah. You can watch her talk below.

A full transcript can be viewed here.

 

Nicher from Micah talked about their partnership with Faiths4Change and Farm Urban. You can watch her talk below.

A full transcript can be viewed here.

 

Feedback was clear, events supporting community food growers and other community food spaces are wanted in Liverpool and the city region. We hope to continue our partnership with Liverpool Food Growers Network by hosting more of these kinds of gatherings in the future.

Feeding Liverpool will be organising regular events throughout the year bringing community food spaces together. Our next event will be Supporting Asylum Seekers in your Community, date TBC.