Food & Wellbeing

Food Poverty Action Plan Year 1

No comments

Year 1 of the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Action Plan

By Tom Skinner

GMFPA logo cropped for GM Poverty AllianceIt is a year since we launched the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Action Plan with 150 people and organisations who had co-produced the Action Plan in our Food Poverty Alliance project. This article reviews the first year of progress towards the Plan’s vision, that “everyone in Greater Manchester enjoys good food and a better standard of living, and they look out for each other.”

Through the Food Poverty Alliance, 50 individuals and organisations have made over 100 pledges of action towards the Action Plan’s vision, including:

  • Apex Storage making five storage units available for individuals and businesses to donate unwanted cooking
    and gardening equipment
    that Cracking Good Food pass on to communities in need;
  • Kellogg’s reaching 70 local schools with breakfast club grants;
  • Sow the City mapping food provision in North Manchester – they have recently been commissioned to map in
    South Manchester as well, and aim to support mapping across GM;
  • The Salford Food Share Network supporting other boroughs to consider the potential for partnerships between
    food banks, food clubs and pantries, advice agencies, the council and other stakeholders;
  • Several Housing associations, councils and charities coordinating provision of food with activities for children
    and young people during school holidays.

We are working closely with most councils across GM, as well as GM Mayor Andy Burnham, the GM Combined Authority and the Health & Social Care Partnership, to discuss actions that can be taken by the public sector at the GM and borough level. For example, Tameside has:

  • established a strategic food partnership with food poverty as one of its themes;
  • included questions about food poverty in its public consultation survey and commissioned qualitative research
    to help understand how food poverty impacts residents, and the challenges for food banks and food pantries;
  • taken action (which is ongoing) to increase uptake of Healthy Start vouchers.

Another important activity has been to embed food poverty, and the Action Plan specifically, in the wider efforts to develop a comprehensive food strategy for the city region. These efforts are being led by GM’s strategic food board Good Food Greater Manchester, of which GMPA is a member. We are currently exploring how efforts to tackle food poverty can complement other sections of the food strategy, and are supporting a series of workshops to develop a cohesive and widely supported strategy.

Since the launch of the Action Plan, GMPA has seen encouraging increased interest in tackling poverty at a local level. Some local authorities are developing and implementing anti-poverty strategies, and there is significant interest in engaging people with lived experience of poverty in decision making e.g. through poverty truth commissions. We continue to campaign for employers across the city region to tackle in-work poverty by becoming accredited Living Wage Employers and signing up to the GM Good Employment Charter. There are now over 200 accredited Living Wage Employers based here, including Salford, Oldham and Manchester councils – see page 2 for more news from the GM Living Wage Campaign, another GMPA project.

Tom Skinner editorial article for GM Poverty Action

Tom Skinner, Director, GM Poverty Action

While I am delighted with the progress made in the first year of the Action Plan, there is much more to be done and GMPA remains committed to tackling food poverty and its underlying causes.

Tom Skinner,
Director, GM Poverty Action


i3oz9sFood Poverty Action Plan Year 1
read more

Tackling poverty: NHS

No comments

Help us to inform the way the NHS tackles poverty

On March 27th, our director Graham Whitham will be attending a workshop at the King’s Fund in London exploring what more the NHS can do to tackle poverty. The workshop will bring together a diverse group of stakeholders with knowledge, expertise and experience of working with those in poverty, people from the NHS, and those who work in partnership with it.

The NHS Long-Term Plan sets out important commitments to reducing inequalities in health.  As part of this NHS England and Improvement want to do more to understand and maximise the NHS’ role in tackling poverty. This builds on previous work, including the King’s Fund report, Tackling poverty: Making more of the NHS in England, which set out how the NHS can tackle the risk of, and mitigate the impact of poverty in many ways, from its treatment impact to its role as an economic giant in every community.

This workshop will help inform:

  • the development of practical resources for local NHS leaders and institutions
  • strengthening the strategic case for the NHS to see tackling poverty as a core issue
  • supporting the NHS to work more closely with partners on poverty, with ultimate impacts in improving the
    health of those in, or at risk of, poverty

The King’s Fund will co-host this workshop with the Equality and Health Inequalities Team at NHS England and

GMPA is keen to support this work, and we know there is a lot of learning from work in Greater Manchester that could help inform the conversation. With the publication of the recent Marmot: Ten years on report, it is vital that we make stronger links between health and poverty.

In order to contribute as much as we can to the workshop we are asking people in our network to share information with us in advance. Graham will feed this into the discussion on March 27th, crediting organisations and individuals where appropriate.

Graham W NHS tackling poverty article for GM Poverty Action

Graham Whitham
Director of GMPA

Please share any good examples of current or recent case studies, reports or wider work where the NHS has tackled poverty successfully with partners in Greater Manchester. If you have a report/project site/short description of the work you are doing that you would be willing to share, please email Graham  by Friday March 20th.


i3oz9sTackling poverty: NHS
read more

Salford Health Improvement Service

No comments

Using public health delivery to address poverty in Salford

By Angela Eden, Health Improvement Manager

Salford City CouncilIntroduction

Salford Health Improvement Service is a frontline, neighbourhood-based health and wellbeing service which delivers a range of community initiatives, courses and programmes to help people make behaviour changes.  Our core areas of work most often cover topics such as stop smoking, weight support, healthy eating, physical activity and mental health. Recently the service has worked closely with our partners within the City Council and voluntary sector to develop a strategic approach to targeting the Health Improvement resource to address the impact of poverty on residents in the city. This meant thinking about innovative ways of delivering the service.

There are 30 frontline staff with the Health Improvement Service who have strong networks and trusted relationships within the local communities in which they work. These staff have a long history of working ‘with’ residents to develop community initiatives that really matter to local people, and of successfully delivering services that bring about real changes to people’s lives.

Following a series of co-production workshops with frontline staff, key actions and tasks have been built into the Health Improvement Service’s existing delivery plans, to contribute towards the Salford Anti-Poverty Strategy.

Implementation of actions

Here are some examples of the initiatives that were delivered by the Health Improvement Service to support the delivery of the Anti-poverty Agenda:

  • The service ensured that all staff and volunteers received sufficient training to be able to provide basic key
    messages and referral to Welfare Rights and Debt Advice, Salford Assist, Affordable Warmth and Salford Credit Union. Key messages were built into all HIS community programmes in order to increase financial literacy within Salford.
  • The service used marketing on social media by including key messages about anti-poverty support services to reduce stigma and encourage members of the public to get in touch. This also included the promotion of free Wi-Fi zones throughout Salford. Awareness raising road shows with partners to place on estates with the highest levels of poverty improved access to the above-mentioned schemes. In addition, Health Improvement frontline staff delivered anti-poverty brief interventions when delivering workplace health programmes, particularly focussing on lower paid workforces.
  • The service worked in partnership with the Salford Food Share Network to deliver four ‘Cooking on a Budget’ and two ‘Positive You (confidence building)’ courses specifically for residents using Food Clubs.
  • All staff within the service have been encouraged to join the Salford Credit Union in order to support this valuable resource.
  • The service continues to work to harness the strength of local communities to lead community action to tackle poverty through frontline community development, as well as delivering and promoting activities in communities that provide an opportunity to eat together’ or ‘grow your own’.
  • The service has delivered a Winter Resilience outreach programme to proactively identify and support vulnerable older people who may be at risk of fuel poverty.
  • Health Improvement has worked with partners to create the Healthy Holiday Voucher Scheme for families who are eligible for Free School Meals. These families received a £30 Aldi voucher per child. In the first year the scheme reached over 40% of eligible families.Conclusion

    Agela Eden, using public health delivery to address poverty in Salford

    Angela Eden

    This project has been a useful example of how a service and staffing resource can be flexed to respond quickly to a particular priority, in this case poverty and the growing impact of welfare reform. It has been possible to demonstrate that a public health service has been able to make small but significant contributions to the Anti-Poverty agenda in Salford. The actions delivered through the project were co-produced with the staff who would be carrying out the direct delivery, and as such resulted in a number of practical, deliverable solutions that had the potential to make a real difference to some of our most vulnerable residents. For more information please contact Angela Eden.



i3oz9sSalford Health Improvement Service
read more

The Good Food Bag

No comments

By Jenni Pocsai, Operations Manager, The Good Food Bag

The Greater Manchester Food Poverty Action Plan (March 2019) calls for local partnerships to set up more food clubs, especially in areas that lack affordable healthy food.  There has been a positive increase since this plan was published and there are now 49 food clubs and pantries where at the time of the report, there were only 30.  Food clubs and pantries help those who are struggling and could end up at crisis point or relying on food banks.

There is a new venture setting out to further help this group of people. The Good Food Bag is a social enterprise partnership between Irwell Valley Homes and One Manchester dedicated to disrupting the food economy, to help those affected by the poverty premium to access good, convenient ingredients to cook great meals at home.   By providing choice with great value, we see a massive benefit for those who may be otherwise at the mercy of convenience foods.

The idea is simple, you can order a recipe kit — classic meals to feed as many or as few people as you wish — via text and pick it up at dedicated collection points close to work or home when it suits you.  We are at the start of a 12-month pilot to see where and how this idea can have the most impact.

The Good Food Bag welcomes a new Operations Manager, Jenni Pocsai.  She comes with a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm as well as a love of great food.  This appointment means we are one step closer to being ready to trade!

The plan is to be trading by March 2020 and we are looking to our partners to help this process along. If you are interested in helping us make The Good Food Bag amazing, please get in touch to let us know where you’d like to see us trading and making a difference to people’s lives.  You can get in touch via our website


i3oz9sThe Good Food Bag
read more

Growing food for community use

No comments

By Kalwant Gill-Faci

GMPA’s Greater Manchester Food Poverty Action Plan calls for more food to be grown in GM communities, for sharing with people in need across the city region. In this article Kal Gill-Faci shows what can be done with even a relatively small plot of land.

At the launch of the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Action plan in March this year, I was volunteering at the charity Pledge and I pledged to continue my work helping homeless people and those suffering food poverty through my allotment in Trafford. This year we took on another half plot which we dedicated 100% for growing exclusively to donate to charities that support those in need.

Kalwant Gill-Faci photo for GM Poverty Action

Kalwant Gill-Faci

The Plot for Poverty (Plot 7F) located at Humphrey Park Allotments in Stretford grows fruit and vegetables exclusively for donations and this year we partnered with the charity Reach out to the Community.

Weekly donations were delivered between mid-June to mid-November to the shop where food parcels are made up and handed out. A women-only hostel also received donations this year. Work on the plot is carried out all year round with the busiest months being February to August. I am ably assisted by my 2 children and my nephew’s son and their contribution has been a massive help!

This is the third year that this work has continued and each year the donations have increased. In addition, we received a grant of approximately £500 from Trafford Housing Trusts’ Social Investment Fund which was used to purchase much needed tools, materials and gardening supplies.

I also collect donations from the wider allotment community at Humphrey Park Allotments for distribution and the result is a car boot load almost every week!

This year we helped to provide an estimated 500+ food parcels during the 5-month period of donations.

I continue to share my work as much as possible through social media and speaking at conferences and events.

For any questions or enquiries about my work please send me an email


i3oz9sGrowing food for community use
read more

Bite Back 2030

No comments

Bite Back 2030 is building a powerful movement of young people who want everyone to be given the opportunity to be healthy, no matter where we live.

Why? We are all up against a flood of unhealthy food, pouring out from fast food outlets, supermarket shelves and school canteens.  As a result 3.3 million children are overweight and the UK has the worst childhood obesity rates in Western Europe

Bite Back 2030 want to close the floodgates but they believe we need to act now.  They want to stem the tide of unhealthy foods and improve the flow of affordable, healthy options for young people. Bite Back 2030 exists to make sure this happens.

Bite Back video image for GM Poverty ActionBite Back 2030 filmed a social experiment that highlights the deliberate tactics used by the food industry to target young people with unhealthy options.

They also held a launch event with many celebrities and potential influencers attending. Follow their campaign on Facebook and Twitter


About Bite Back:

We are here for young people who want to know the truth about how the food system is designed; how we can redesign it to put young people’s health first; and build a powerful alliance that will help make that redesign a reality.

At the heart of Bite Back 2030 is our Youth Board – a team of passionate teenage activists from across the UK who are campaigning for more opportunities to be healthy – and they would love you to join them!

We want to build a movement of young people who can get the big players in business and government to listen and act on a very important topic – your right to health.

We’ve been shocked at the injustices we’ve discovered so far, so we’ve teamed up with some inspirational people to do something about it.

i3oz9sBite Back 2030
read more

Pre-Christmas food collection

No comments

Why does this collection happen now every year?

Christmas is only three weeks away. No doubt many people are looking forward to the festive season, perhaps some days off work, time with close family including excited small children and some treats for everyone.  That is how its supposed to be but for too many people it’s becoming increasingly difficult, with more than ever expected to need to use a food bank.  Data released earlier this year shows April to September 2019 to be the busiest half-year period since the charity opened. During the six months, 823,145 three-day emergency food parcels were given to people in crisis in the UK; more than a third of these (301,653) went to children. This is a 23% increase on the same period in 2018 – the sharpest rate of increase the charity has seen for the past five years.

Record food collection for Stockport food banks

For 3 days at the end of November a team of volunteers from Stockport Foodbank ably supported by corporate volunteers from Astra Zenica and the Co-op Bank Manchester, received food donations from Tesco customers.

Collection at Tesco November 2019 for GM Poverty ActionOver the 3 collecting days, a massive 6800kgs of food was donated, enough food for about 7500 meals which has now replenished the food bank warehouse in time for the ‘Christmas rush’.

Stockport Foodbank Manager, Nigel Tedford, said, “We have been so humbled by the generosity of people particularly at this time of economic uncertainty.  The donations that we have received will help us to meet the increase in food bank demand which we expect at this time of the year and our thanks must be expressed to all the Tesco customers for every tin and every packet.  We hope that this level of generosity was matched all across the country.”

Details about Stockport Foodbank can be obtained from their website or Facebook page.

For more information about the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance please visit this page.


i3oz9sPre-Christmas food collection
read more

Healthy Holiday Voucher Scheme

No comments

by Kenny Flint, Health Improvement Service, Salford City Council

GMPA’s Greater Manchester Food Poverty Action Plan calls for boroughs to support and coordinate provision of activities with food during school holidays, and we are pleased to share stories and good practice such as Salford’s Healthy Holiday Voucher Scheme.

Salford City Council delivered a food voucher scheme during July and August 2019, to offer help and support for some of the most vulnerable families in Salford who access the current system of free school meals. This was developed to complement the existing programmes of summer play schemes and Save for Summer, which were delivered by Salford Community Leisure, Integrated Youth Support, Life Centre, VCSE’s and other partners. The Healthy Holiday Voucher Scheme was funded by the Health Improvement Service, Salford Assist and the Booth Charity.

The issue of ‘Holiday Hunger’ has been significantly increasing in recent years with many charities reporting that the pressure on food banks has doubled during school holidays. Children who would usually be entitled to free school meals cannot access them during the holidays. There is evidence to suggest that many children are regularly skipping meals, which has a detrimental impact upon their behaviour and cognitive development. Many families in Salford are forced to face the choice of heating their home or feeding their children.

Families who met certain criteria were provided with an ALDI voucher equating to an additional £30 per child, to help during the 6 weeks of the summer holidays. ALDI was the chosen supplier as the organisation has an existing agreement with the company via Salford Assist, Salford’s local welfare assistance scheme

We contacted eligible parents via school communication systems and social media, and required completion of an application form and an eligibility assessment conducted by the Health Improvement Service. After this assessment, the parent and most accessible neighbourhood Gateway were notified of the successful application and given a unique ID number. Upon production of the unique ID number and a form of ID at the chosen Gateway, the parent was then issued with the vouchers. Over 70% of residents found the application process for the scheme ‘Very Easy’ to complete and just under 70% found it ‘Very Easy’ to collect the vouchers. Some of the feedback can be viewed below.

I found the scheme very easy and of course every little helps with hungry mouths to feed so thank you.”

“It helped me and my family out massively, thank you. Due to my household being on a low income, buying food is a struggle, especially in the school holidays. So this was very much appreciated by family.”

“Single mum of two teen daughters on ESA so massively helped with the grocery shop during the school holidays as the girls want to snack and eat more when home all day. Enabled me to buy extra fruit and keep freezer stocked up. Thank you for the support during this time very much appreciated.”

“I think this scheme has been very helpful! You don’t realise how much extra shopping you need for children when they are not in school. I would definitely apply again if I got the chance to. Thank you also for providing this service.”

“Just helps people who are on low income and not only on low income but the way everything’s going up it makes life a little better to be offered help, I’m in the middle of moving too and it’s help me a lot to buy food for the children.”

“Being a single mum of 2 and struggling at the best of times. This really helped feed the extra hungry pair all day and night whilst still leaving me with money to be able to take them out to have fun.”

“Bought activity sets as well as lunch for my 5 year old with ASD. Keeps him happy in the afternoons on rainy days.”

Kenny Flint healthy holiday vouchers for GM Poverty Action

Kenny Flint

Recommendations given to streamline the scheme were to review the process of assessing eligibility to ensure it is quicker and more accurate. This would include greater clarity on the eligibility criteria in relation to Salford residency, or attending a Salford school. Similarly, greater clarity in relation to children attending nursery, such as an Excel formula to quickly calculate from a date of birth if someone is eligible. This could be achieved by creating a bespoke database.

As of September 2019, during the 8-week period there were just over 2,100 applications to the Healthy Holiday Scheme, resulting in a total of 3,667 children being supported. This is 42% of all the children in Salford who are eligible for free school meals. Salford City Council would like to continue the scheme next year.

More information about the Healthy Holiday Voucher scheme



i3oz9sHealthy Holiday Voucher Scheme
read more

Christmas Hampers

No comments

Urban Outreach Bolton for GM POverty Action organisations

Everyone should experience a little joy at Christmas, but for many it can be a sad time. Loneliness, bereavement, family breakdown or just having too little money to celebrate are some of the reasons. So with the help and support of many individuals and agencies, this project is able to provide hampers to many who are struggling. The hampers contain everything that an individual or family needs to put on a traditional Christmas spread – right down to mince pies and Christmas crackers!

How it works:

Each Autumn Urban Outreach touch base with all those who have previously supported the project. They ask schools, churches, businesses and other groups to consider making a pledge to collect specific items used to make up the hampers.

We also depend upon the generosity of many individuals and organisations who donate the money we need to purchase fresh items for the hampers. This includes fruit and vegetables – not forgetting the chicken!

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, agencies workers are invited to nominate Bolton individuals and families to receive a hamper. Then just before distribution day our volunteers get stuck into preparing the hampers.

Urban Outreach Christmas Hampers in Bolton for GM Poverty ActionIt all gets very hectic as they finalise preparations and get all the hampers delivered in time. None of this would be possible without the support of many agency workers who call to collect and deliver hampers to the doorstep of those they have nominated. It’s hard work – but very rewarding for all concerned. The appreciation shown by hamper recipients can be overwhelming!

When we arrived to collect the parcels, seeing all the volunteers restored my faith in society. I went out delivering the parcels and the response was inspiring. All four families were overwhelmed with your kindness and couldn’t thank us enough for delivering the parcels.”

Each year the project has benefited from many sources of support which has ensured that they have been able to cover most of our direct costs. They are grateful to all of these including Bolton Council, Bolton at Home, Seddon construction, churches and businesses across Bolton and many individual donors. If you are able to supply items or funding for the hampers or want to know more please get in touch.

Urban Outreach would like to thank everyone for their continuing support!


i3oz9sChristmas Hampers
read more

Learn to cook

No comments

Cracking Good Food have secured MAES (Manchester Adult Education Service)  part EU funding to deliver 10-week, cooking programmes, three times, in four hostels across Manchester. A total of 120 cooking sessions, each lasting 3 hours. As part of their role within Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance, their mission is to enable as many communities as possible to have the opportunity to learn to cook. This they feel, provides that much needed opportunity. It is for volunteers and community support workers in the public, third and voluntary sector.

The programme requires a 10 week commitment which many vulnerable residents are unable to provide. They have therefore been granted permission to widen the reach, enabling community members (only with DBS clearance), to guarantee full groups. This is FREE in-house training for which they can provide CPD certificates.  Cracking Good Food will then be able to help support these community members, at a later stage, to roll out cooking in their community. Get in touch to find out more.

The courses will run with a minimum of 10, maximum of 20 people. Participants need to be able to commit to the full 10 week course. All food and protective clothing is provided as well as full e-recipe and idea sheets which can be photographed using a phone. An application form needs to be completed with an Individual learning plan.

The programmes will be run follows:
Chorlton:        Programme 1. Wednesdays October 2nd – 8 December 8th, 2019.     6-9pm.
Chorlton:        Programme 2. Wednesdays January 8th – March18th, 2020  6-9pm
Fallowfield:     Programme 1. Wednesdays Oct 30th, 2019 – January 15th, 2020      11- 2pm.
Ancoats:          Programme 1. Tuesdays November 12th, 2019 – January 28th, 2020      11-2pm.
Ardwick.          Programme 1. Wednesdays November 20th, 2019 – February 5th, 2020       3 – 6pm. Women ONLY.

Menus for the programme include curries, rice, pasta, stews, pizzas, soups, noodles, breads, pastry and vegetarian.

Booking onto a course online can be done here but please also email Sarah with a copy of your DBS stating which course you would like to attend.

Cracking Good Food’s Call Out for Unwanted Cooking and Gardening Equipment has enabled them to equip the kitchens with the majority of what is needed. There are four Apex Storage units (in-kind donation) across Manchester where some donations are still being stored. If you can help with the appeal for more equipment or need equipment then do let them know.

For  further information please contact Adele Jordan

MAES funding logo strip for GM Poverty Action

i3oz9sLearn to cook
read more