Category: Past Events

Cash First Leaflets Liverpool online webinar and discussion

23rd March 2pm to 3pm

What is this about?

The Independent Food Aid Network UK (IFAN) has been working with 60 local authorities to develop cash-first leaflets, a resource co-designed between IFAN and local areas for people facing financial crisis, and any support workers, to quickly see available advice and cash first support options and which local agencies are best placed to help.

Join us for a one hour online webinar and discussion to hear from IFAN about how these resources have been used in other areas, and then together explore if this is something we would find useful to be produced for the city.

For some background reading do take a look at IFAN Coordinator Sabine Goodwin’s recent blog post: Finding hope in cash first approaches at the bleakest of times

Who should attend?

Liverpool-based organisations. We are looking for representatives from our local authority, Liverpool’s Citizens Advice Bureau, emergency food providers including foodbanks and advice providers to attend this discussion.

This is an online webinar, please register via Eventbrite to receive the zoom code.

Workshop: Reimagining your future food neighbourhood

Our global food system has become increasingly complex, fragile and unsustainable.

Food that was once grown locally is now flown in from thousands of miles away, which has devastating environmental, social and economic impacts.

Things need to change.

By reimagining our future food neighbourhoods to include things such as publicly accessible edible hedges, community gardens, and independent food shops, we can reclaim our local food system.

Join Feeding Liverpool and Hope Community Garden in this interactive workshop at the Open Eye Gallery Wednesday 9th March 11am-1pm where we’ll be exploring how we can bring affordable good food back into our local neighbourhoods.

Register through Eventbrite here.

Healthy Start Scheme goes digital: a discussion with community food spaces

21st March 2pm to 3pm

The Healthy Start Scheme is a government funded program that aims to increase the health of women on low incomes and their young children to give them the best start in life.

It is available to women who are 10+ weeks pregnant, or have a child up to the age of 4, and who are on income-related benefits. They receive at least £4.25 each week that can be spent on fruit and vegetables, pulses, milk, baby formula, and Healthy Start vitamins – enabling women who have little disposal income to be able to prioritise healthy food and increase their vitamin and mineral intake.

Feeding Liverpool would like to bring together lead volunteers and staff members who run Liverpool-based food clubs, pantries and food unions to provide an update about the digitisation of the Healthy Start Scheme and to collectively identify any challenges and solutions to accepting Healthy Start Scheme pre-payment cards within our community food spaces.

If you’d like to do some pre-reading about this transition, do read Money Saving Expert’s review of the new scheme. Iceland have also launched their ‘Could you get this milk for free?’ campaign to promote Healthy Start.

If you are an organisation who is already accepting payments via the Healthy Start Scheme pre-payment cards do get in touch with Naomi on [email protected] as we’d love to have a conversation prior to the meeting.

Register through Eventbrite here

Establishing Partnerships: Community Food Growers & Other Community Food Spaces

With Feeding Liverpool and Liverpool Food Growers Network

This lunchtime session will explore how to establish and develop partnerships between community food growing spaces and other community food spaces such as food pantries, food hubs, community shops, and community kitchens.

It is an opportunity for representatives from both groups to network, share experiences, ask questions, and discuss future projects.

Refreshments and a light plant-based lunch will be provided. Speakers to be confirmed.

 

 

Who: Community Food Growers and other Community Food Spaces in the City of Liverpool

When: 11:30am – 2pm, Wednesday 9th February 2022

Where: Roots in the City, St. Michael in the City, Upper Pitt Street, L1 5BD

How: Booking required due to limited capacity.

 

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Graham, Feeding Liverpool’s Good Food Programme Network Coordinator: [email protected]

Clara Steiner, Liverpool Food Growers Network Coordinator: [email protected]

To register click here.

Liverpool’s Good Food Plan Pledge Event

In November 2021, in collaboration with Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral, and Together Liverpool, we held a pledge event at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral inviting organisations and residents across the city to publicly pledge their support for Liverpool’s Good Food Plan.

Over 300 people attended in-person and online. Our host for the evening was Paul Beasley from BBC Radio Merseyside. Speakers included Canon Tony O’Brien, Dean of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral; Very Rev Dr Sue Jones, Dean of Liverpool Cathedral; Cllr Abdul Basit Qadir, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods; Melisa Campbell, consultant in Public Health to Liverpool City Council and Co-chair of Liverpool’s Food Insecurity Task Force; Kevin Peacock, trustee of Feeding Liverpool and CEO for St Andrew’s Community Network; Emma Revie, CEO for Trussell Trust; Ian Byrne MP for Liverpool West Derby and co-founder of Fans Supporting Foodbanks; and Dr Naomi Maynard, Feeding Liverpool’s Good Food Plan Programme Director.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

On stage, alongside Paul and the speakers of the evening, were Claire and Gill from More Than Minutes, drawing visual minutes of the event’s important messages.

To mark the opening of the evening, we heard pledges of support from Archbishop Malcolm McMahon for the Archdiocese of Liverpool and Bishop Paul Bayes for the Liverpool Diocese. Paul Beasley said, “Liverpool is a city with a big heart, and no matter how hard things get, we always come together.”

Canon Tony O’Brien and Very Rev Dr Sue Jones explained how the cathedrals worked together to bring the pledge evening to life.

Representing Good Food Plan partner Liverpool City Council was Cllr Abdul Basit Qadir Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods. Cllr Qadir announced Liverpool City Council’s pledge of £150,000 towards Liverpool’s Good Food Plan and said, “Food is a very powerful tool that we have at our disposal. It brings communities together.”

Cllr Abdul Basit Qadir Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods

Melisa Campbell, consultant in Public Health to Liverpool City Council, and Co-chair of Liverpool’s Food Insecurity Task Force introduced the plan, why we need it and how the plan has been developed so far; “Food Insecurity has been increasing in Liverpool for the last 10 years. This isn’t something that’s happened as a result of the pandemic, but it has been exacerbated. What we’ve realised from this first phase of our work is that we probably don’t fully understand the extent of food insecurity in Liverpool. There’s much more work to do to recognise the full scale of what we need to address.”

Kevin Peacock, trustee of Feeding Liverpool and CEO for St Andrew’s Community Network explained the five goals of the Good Food Plan:

Goal 1: Good Food at points of crisis
Goal 2: Uncovering the true scale of food insecurity
Goal 3: Enabling food citizenship
Goal 4: Shifting policy and practice
Goal 5: Connecting the community

Kevin said, “I’ve seen the power of community-based action to tackle some of the problems that we have. Food insecurity is systemic and we need to reconstruct that system. I believe we can create a city where everyone can eat good food.”

Our guest speaker was Emma Revie, CEO of The Trussell Trust who pledged to fund the role of a Development Worker within the Feeding Liverpool team. Emma, giving a national context to food insecurity, said, “I’m not joking that I’d love to be out of a job. In order to bring about an end to food banks, we need to see systemic change. We need our services to be well-coordinated and sufficiently resourced. It’s also so important that we engage with people with lived experience. This is a plan that is shaped by people with lived experience.”

Ian Byrne MP, co-founder of Fans Supporting Food Banks and the Right to Food Campaign, and MP for Liverpool West Derby, looking at the work happening locally to combat food insecurity, said, “I’m not going to stand here tonight and bring good tidings. We’ve got an estimated 32% of adults in this city experiencing food insecurity. Political decisions have life and death consequences. But there are glimmers of hope.”

Ian Byrne MP for Liverpool West Derby and co-founder of Fans Supporting Foodbanks

Dr Naomi Maynard, our Good Food Plan Programme Director, called us all to continue to support the #RightToFood campaign and Trussell Trusts’ Hunger-Free Future campaign, for businesses to sign up to the Real Living Wage, and for people and organisations to join the #GoodFoodLiverpool movement by signing up to our mailing list.

Public Pledges

The evening ended with public pledges from local and national organisations.

Andrew Forsey for Feeding Britain pledged £30,000 for the development of community food spaces across the city.

Dave Kelly from Fans Supporting Foodbanks pledged to relaunch the #RightToFood campaign.

Food Cycle Liverpool pledged to open two new community food spaces across Liverpool and join the Food Alliance.

Together Liverpool pledged to support the good food plan as they grow their Network of Kindness across the city.

VS6 Partnership pledged to use their networks to disseminate the five goals across the city region and beyond.

Our final public pledge came from Paul Beasley who pledged to speak about Liverpool’s Good Food Plan regularly on BBC Radio Merseyside.

We asked attendees and those watching online to pledge their support through our website or on pledge cards.

Thank you to everyone who has pledged so far. We have received over 40 pledges of support since the event.  You can read some of the pledges made by businesses and organisations, charities and community groups, and residents here. If you would like to make an online pledge, you can do so here.

 

 

 

 

Liverpool’s Good Food Plan Pledge Evening

Pledge your support towards creating a city where everyone can eat good food

We want to live in a city where everyone can eat good food. But we cannot achieve this alone, everyone in Liverpool has a role to play in making this vision a reality.

Hundreds of residents and organisations have been involved in co-producing the first phase of Liverpool’s Good Food Plan.

This plan 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

Join us at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral alongside the city’s leaders, businesses, community groups and residents to explore what we can do together to create a city where everyone can eat good food on Wednesday 10th November at 7pm – 8.30pm. Register via Eventbrite 

Doors will open at 6.30pm. 

The pledge event will include a presentation about Liverpool’s Good Food Plan and a keynote address from Emma Revie – Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust.

There will be opportunities both on the night and afterwards for residents, organisations, and businesses to pledge their support towards creating a city where everyone can eat good food.  Please visit this page for pledge ideas. 

Who’s the event for?

Everyone! This event aims to bring together residents, city leaders, business owners, community volunteers; anyone who is passionate about tackling food insecurity, interested in the development of the city, who wants to come along or who wants to know more about how they can be a part of creating a city where everyone can eat good food.

Online Access

If you are unable to attend in person, the event will be live-streamed. Details for the live stream will be available shortly.

Parking

Parking is available at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Enquiries

For enquiries about the event please contact Jennifer Graham at [email protected]

For venue enquiries, including questions about access, please contact Claire Hanlon at [email protected]

Register

Register here to attend in-person. Details about how to register for the live stream will be available shortly.

This event is co-hosted by Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool Cathedral, Feeding Liverpool and Together Liverpool.

 

 

 

Feeding Liverpool Launch

The Launch of Feeding Liverpool took place on Friday 20th May 2016 at LACE (Liverpool Archdiocesan Centre for Evangelisation), Sefton Park, Liverpool

More than eighty people attended the launch of Feeding Liverpool, a group bringing together people who are concerned about food poverty in Liverpool.

Feeding Liverpool is one of a growing network of local projects following the Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the UK published in December 2014 and called Feeding Britain: A strategy for zero hunger in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Feeding Liverpool is an initiative of Churches Together in Merseyside and Region. This is appropriate because faith groups are so often involved in the provision of food banks and other food projects but we have no intention of going it alone.

We aim to bring together people who are concerned about food poverty:

First – to share good practice about emergency provision;

Second – to campaign for change in those policies that cause or reinforce poverty;

Third – to raise public awareness about the extent of food poverty and the damaging effects of austerity measures on welfare provision.

We also want to contribute to other efforts in the city to tackle food poverty such as the City Council’s Food Poverty Strategy Group at which Feeding Liverpool is being asked to take a lead role in engaging with local communities and learning from people’s lived experience. As many of our participants are those on the frontline of provision, our key strength is to provide what Bishop Paul Bayes refers to as ‘a line of sight to the street and back’ in order to gain an understanding of the reality of food poverty and its implications – not just for providers and policy makers, but for all of us who aspire to live in a society that is built around fairness and the wellbeing of all.

Feeding Liverpool is co-chaired by Bishop John Rawsthorne, (retired Bishop of the

Catholic Diocese of Hallam and former Auxiliary Bishop in Liverpool) and Professor Hilary Russell (Professor Emeritus at Liverpool John Moores University European Institute of Urban Affairs and leader of the Together For the Common Good [T4CG] research process).

Messages of support were displayed at the launch from Frank Field MP, co-chair of Feeding Britain, Mayor Joe Anderson and Bishop Paul Bayes (Anglican Bishop of Liverpool)

Speakers included Louise Ellman MP, Stephen Twigg MP, Niall Cooper (National Director of Church Action on Poverty), Councillor Jane Corbett (Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Fairness and Equalities), Kevin Peacock (CEO of St Andrews Community Network), Lynda Batterbee (Area Manager for the Trussell Trust), Archbishop Malcolm McMahon (Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool) and Rev Phil Jump (Free Church Moderator for Merseyside).

 

Photos, comments and video clips are available on Twitter

You can find the Press Release about the launch event here

You can find the programme from the launch event here

You can find the PowerPoint from the launch event here

Feeding Liverpool event at LACE

Led by June Rawlinson and Madeline Chipunza from Liverpool CAB

1.
June and Madeline presented the ‘dashboard’ reports for the second and third quarters of 2016-2017 (year commencing in April) which CAB provides each quarter for Liverpool City Council. The headlines were that in each quarter Liverpool CAB receives around 15,000 enquiries from around 9,000 clients, just more than half of which concern benefits or tax credits and around a quarter concern debt. The total amount of debt owed by the clients in each quarter was around £3m and in the year to date (i.e. the first three quarters) almost £3m of debt was written off and almost £3m of other financial gain was found for clients (e.g. grants or unclaimed benefits).

2.
The most common benefit issue was the Personal Independence Payment (around 34%/38%) and 61%/65% of clients had some form of disability or long term health problem. Government statistics indicate that around 19% of adults in the UK have a disability or long term health problem.

3.
Most clients attending CAB are middle-aged. There has been a lot of publicity about youth poverty and youth debt but young people do not often access CAB help: there was speculation that they could be more likely to use online help services or services targeted at young people.

4.
The top debt issue was Council Tax Arrears (15%/17%). The background to this is that before recent welfare ‘reforms’ people on benefit received 100% discount on Council Tax, so they are not used to paying it. Now they receive 92% discount, but the remaining 8% is still a large burden for those on very low incomes, and when people are having to choose between paying something off their rent arrears to avoid eviction, paying utility bills and buying food, Council Tax, which was always unpopular, does not seem to have such a high priority. Liverpool City Council has tried hard to avoid putting undue pressure on those owing Council Tax Arrears and had a policy agreed with the CAB but recent changes to legislation have led to some problems with bailiffs arriving without due notice. A further complication is that if you miss one payment on a monthly payment plan, you become liable for the whole annual amount, unless you contact the Council and renegotiate the payment plan but, having missed one or more payments, the new amount will inevitably be higher and therefore harder to pay.

5.
Council Tax Arrears, combined with relatively high numbers of citizens on benefit receiving 92% discount and relatively low property prices, impact on the City Council’s budget and render the Government’s recent decision to allow Councils to bring forward a 3% in Council Tax almost irrelevant in Liverpool. At recent briefing of Church leaders, Mayor Anderson had explained the massive cuts in Central Government Funding of the City, which has already seen its budget cut by 58% (whereas some Shire Counties had been cut by as little as 3%)and faces a shortfall of £58m in the coming year. The Mayor had called for Church leaders to join in a political campaign to change the basis of the allocation of Central Government Funding.

6.
Concerns were raised about the ability to increase the re-payments rates of Council Tax and of Council Tax arrears. This concern relates to the falling rates of benefits and benefit cap introduction, labour market changes, and the increased cost of living. Advice agencies can support the City Council in promoting the greater repayment of Council Tax and Council Tax Arrears to create a win-win; but to do so would further tighten the income expenditure balance. The CAB, although dealing with around 9,000 clients in each quarter, had issued only 425 foodbank vouchers in the second quarter and 511 in the third. No statistics were available about how many foodbank vouchers were issued or redeemed in Liverpool as a whole, nor about what proportion of CAB clients are offered foodbank vouchers but refuse them, nor about whether CAB clients may have received foodbank vouchers from other providers. In line with Trussell Trust guidance, CAB and other Debt Advice centres only offer vouchers when the client is in immediate food crisis, i.e. has not eaten and has no prospect of being able to eat in the next day or so. Food crisis does not always happen at the same time as debt crisis or benefit issue crisis. CAB sometimes refers clients to other food providers rather than foodbanks, e.g. community feeding centres. Some clients are very reluctant to accept foodbank vouchers.

7.
CAB includes information about Credit Unions in the financial skills training it offers and sometimes refers clients to Credit Unions, as do some foodbanks and other Debt Advice centres.

8.
There was discussion of the Foodbank Plus model: some foodbanks have trialled different models for getting external agencies to offer some additional services at the point of foodbank delivery and there are anecdotal reports of some success, others report that clients are not willing to engage with other services. One example, in Bootle, works well where a particular advice worker has excellent communication skills, dresses informally and connects well with clients, but this is unusual. We were not aware of any published research into the effectiveness of providing such additional services. The North Liverpool Foodbank has concentrated on training the volunteers to make the most of the contact they have, trying to find one step which will help each individual’s situation, sometimes making a phone call or appointment for them.

9.
June reported on the frustration of giving advice to clients, setting out the steps they need to follow, but knowing that many of them, especially those with mental health problems, have little chance of successfully negotiating the system to a successful outcome. Some Job Centres and some individual Job Centre staff are more helpful than others.

10.
Some help centres, including foodbanks, provide computers with online access to allow clients to carry out the tasks required by the system, but some Housing Associations have reported underuse of such facilities when provided.

11.
Trussell Trust have asked DWP to provide a ‘hotline’ facility for foodbanks and debt advice centres to be able to advocate on behalf of clients as the average wait to get through to a Job Centre by phone is 45 minutes.

12.
June reported that the structure of CAB in Liverpool is about to change: multiple centres will be maintained but under a central management system. Some branches have closed and the availability of independent services often varies because they depend on short term funding. Having trialled an ‘appointment only’ system, CAB has reverted to trying to deal with every enquiry when people turn up. Waiting times vary but anyone arriving within the advertised opening hours will be seen.

13.
Utility companies vary greatly in their treatment of clients with arrears, and practice within the same company can vary with a change in local management. June circulated a report on the experience of CAB clients in North Liverpool in the winter of 2015/16 entitled ‘The Heating or Eating Quandary’ which details shocking experiences, including 27% of respondents have gone without meals so their children could eat. The experiences reported were worse for social housing residents than for homeowners and worse again for private tenants. Problems were also more severe for those on prepayment meters.

14.
Madeline highlighted concerns about the deductions for debts from the new Universal Credit. Legislation allows up to 40% of the entitlement to be deducted to pay off debts (i.e. up to £29 out of a typical Universal Credit entitlement of £76 per week) but DWP has refused to disclose what system they are using to prioritise which debts are enforced with deductions and in what amounts. One example is that Magistrate Court Fines, which are ‘Priority Debts’ when they are deducted from legacy benefits (income support, income-related ESA, Income- based Job Seekers, etc.) it is at £5 per week. For those claimants on Universal Credit they will see much higher weekly amounts deducted of up to 40% of their standard allowance. Kevin raised the question of which utility companies, private landlords and other agencies had contracts with DWP to reclaim their debts via these deductions, which seem to be disregarding the agreed practice of individual choice – and may impact on an individual’s ability to afford food, energy and other day to day items. Kevin reported that Debt Advice services had seen Universal Credit statements where the deductions, including sanctions, resulted in a zero total – no benefit being paid to the claimant. The decisions appear to be made automatically at centres remote from the claimant, raising concerns about the opportunity for a person to self-advocate and discuss their personal situation. We agreed that this specific question of the policy governing deductions from Universal Credit should be referred to Frank Fields via Andrew Forsey.

The Impact of Welfare Reform for Women and their Health

There were two speakers at this Feeding Liverpool event: Ruth Patrick spoke on ‘Living with Welfare Reform’ and Annette James spoke on ‘Food Insecurity and Health’. This sheet brings together some of the key messages, from the talks and from the contributions of conference participants who came from a range of organisations including foodbanks, CAB, The Food People, Mencap, Asylum Link, debt advice centres and community groups.  The event brought together research findings and lived experience, statistics and stories.

The PowerPoint of Ruth Patrick’s talk can be downloaded by clicking here.

The PowerPoint of Annette James’ talk can be downloaded by clicking here.

Observations of the day can be read by clicking here.

 

1. WELFARE REFORM

Policy assumptions

  • Work is the best route out of poverty.
  • Welfare reform was necessary to improve incentives to enter work and avoid welfare dependency.
  • Poverty is largely about individuals and their ‘pathways to poverty’.

By contrast, research and the experience of front-line practitioners show that the successive rounds of welfare reform and the roll-out of Universal Credit have brought a clear mismatch between the policy narrative and real life:

  • Most people want to work – for fulfilment as well as higher income.
  • People’s income can still be too low to manage even when they are working, especially when so many are in unstable employment, are on zero hours contracts, have to combine several very low paid, part-time jobs.
  • Welfare reform has had negative – and even perverse – consequences. People can move further from the labour market as a result of benefit changes, perhaps because of increased stress but also because of the practical inability to undertake training and volunteering as part of their job search requirements.
  • Factors such as addiction, worklessness or family breakdown are often cited as causes of poverty rather than the consequences of it.
  • People on benefits are widely stigmatised.
  • Being on benefits is hard work, entails tight budgeting and facing decisions such as ‘heat or eat’.
  • Problems with the benefits process

 

The process can be demoralising as Isabella’s story illustrates.

  • Concerns include: (a) payment delays and the impact this can have on short term household budgets; (b) assessment in the case of especially vulnerable people.
  • Apart from the financial effect of changes to multiple benefits, repeat assessments themselves have a cumulative stressful impact.
  • The experiences of claimants echo those of people in the asylum system.
  • The system stifles people’s free choice. They are put in a position where they feel under pressure to take any job rather than an appropriate one.
  • The question was raised as to whether work is always a desirable outcome given childcare or other caring responsibilities and illness.
  • Legal aid is being withdrawn at the same time as welfare reform, but in appeals an ‘expert’ letter is more likely to be believed than the person his/herself.
  • Those administering the benefits process are themselves under pressure to meet targets or demands ‘from on high’.

Impact on Women

  • Women are amongst the hardest hit by welfare reform, especially the Benefit Cap and two child limit.
  • Single parents (most of whom are women) are amongst the most affected.
  • Cumulative impact assessments of tax and benefit changes show women in the lowest income groups (and especially BME women) are disproportionately affected. (Women’s Budget Group, 2017)
  • Single parent households represent 71% of those subject to the benefit cap (45,000 families together caring for > 100,000 children (Gingerbread, 2017)
  • David Webster from Glasgow University has noted particularly high rates of sanctions among pregnant women. Given the importance of ante-natal care, this has serious health implications.
  • There can be inherent tensions between meeting the demands of DWP and caring roles; for example, a conflict with parenting responsibilities when appointments clash with school events.
  • Domestic violence and its impact seems to be a recurring story. People move from place to place and have to make a fresh start each time, away from support of family and friends.

 

2. FOOD INSECURITY

Mythology suggests that food poverty arises because people are unable to budget properly or do not know how to shop and cook well. Research, however, shows that the key causes are insufficient money, lack of access to affordable food and/or lack of equipment or fuel for storage and cooking.

School holidays are particularly difficult for families because of the need to compensate for the lack of school dinners.

 

Food insecurity and health

Diseases impacted by diet include:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Many forms of cancer
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Pre-diabetes and type II diabetes
  • Effects on bone density
  • Anaemia – iron deficiency
  • Chronic health problems caused by deficient vitamin intake

There were reports in 2015 of the return of rickets in the UK as a result of dangerously poor diets and GPs are now having to refer people to foodbanks. Hospital diagnoses of malnutrition nearly doubled between 2009 and 2013 and more than 7,000 people were admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary diagnosis of malnutrition between August 2014 and July 2015.

The impact of poverty – especially on physical and mental health – builds up over time. Food insecurity also has serious consequences for the mental health of adults and children. There is a high prevalence of depression and anxiety amongst foodbank users.

 

What can be done – Community eating initiatives?

For the foreseeable future, food aid will continue to be required. In addition to foodbanks in Liverpool, a range of other activities set out to make a difference such as: Whitechapel Centre working with homeless people; Asylum Link supporting destitute asylum seekers; Can Cook – share you lunch campaign; neighbours cooking for neighbours; initiatives to reduce waste and ones to encourage growing fresh produce.

 

What can be done strategically?

The city is attempting to tackle poverty and inequality – and the associated food insecurity – in various ways:

  • The City-Wide Strategy Group on Fairness and Tackling Poverty, bringing together public, private and voluntary sector bodies.
  • The city’s Obesity Strategy
  • Liverpool Food People working for a sustainable food city.
  • Liverpool Play Partnership providing play and food during school holidays.
  • ‘Taste for health’ – a strategy for the city to change the food culture.
  • Feeding Liverpool – bringing together front-line deliverers of food aid and other partners to exchange good practice, raise awareness and draw out policy messages.

 

Conclusions

The evident failure of welfare policy achieving its declared objectives underlines the need to learn from what is happening:

  • It is important to hear the voices of those who are experts by experience and involve them in the policy debate. It is particularly valuable to track people’s experience over time.
  • It is important to recognise the needs of the most vulnerable groups of women – during pregnancy, suffering domestic violence, those with a disability or with mental health problems – and take steps to protect them.
  • Everyone involved in working with people in poverty and requiring food aid has a role to play in documenting the impact of welfare reform and giving support to those directly affected.
  • The policy messages heard today need to be articulated: not just the negative ones of systemic deficiencies but also the positive ones of the valuable contributions claimants often make – beyond paid work – through volunteering and caring responsibilities.
  • The most effective approach is an asset-focused one, recognising people’s right to food, right to health, right to be respected: ‘If you have come to help then you can go away but if you have come because your liberation is tied up with ours then you are welcome. (Lilla Watson, black social worker, US)

 

Useful Reading

  • Ruth Patrick, For whose benefit: The everyday realities of Welfare Reform, Policy Press, 2017
  • Kayleigh Garthwaite: Hunger Pains: Life inside foodbank Britain, Policy Press, 2016
  • Stephen Crossley, In Their Place: The Imagined Geographies of Poverty, Pluto Press, 2017

Community Growing on Church Land Online Event

In May 2021 we held our first event bringing together people and organisations interested in community growing on church land. Co-hosted by Feeding Liverpool, Together Liverpool, and Faiths4Change, over 50 people attended online and heard from four community gardens on church land across the region who each told their stories and offered practical advice to those interested in setting up community growing projects.

We heard about the community gardens at St Michael’s in the City, St Margaret of Antioch Toxteth, Christ Church Norris Green, and St Mark’s Haydock. We were also joined by Myerscough College who told us about their free adult-learning courses.

 

Roots in the City at St Michael’s in the City

Annie Merry from Faths4Change telling us about the development of Roots in the City at St Michael’s in the City Church

For the latest events and opportunities from Faiths4Change, click here

 

Christ Church Norris Green

Joyce telling us about the community garden at Christ Church Norris Green and how they have engaged youth and children in the garden.

 

St Mark’s Haydock

John from St Mark’s Haydock telling us how their community garden has developed over the years and offering fundraising advice.

 

For a detailed fundraising handout produced by John, click here

 

Hope Community Garden

Jennifer and PJ from Hope Community Garden at St Margaret of Antioch Church in Toxteth telling us about how the garden was setup, how they support people’s mental health through the garden, and their experience of growing on a shoestring.

 

Myerscough College

Helen from Myerscough College explaining the free adult-learning courses on offer through Myerscough College.

For more information about the courses on offer at Myerscough College, click here

 

A number of people said how they were interested in gathering regularly, so we are considering ways in which we can facilitate an ongoing portal for advice, support, and collaboration. If you have any ideas or suggestions and if you would like to join an event similar to this one in the future, please email us at [email protected].