Food & Wellbeing

Mental Health & UC

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Investigating Claimant Experiences
By Joe Pardoe, PhD Student at the University of Salford

Research has shown that recent changes to the benefits system, especially the roll-out of Universal Credit, have profoundly impacted the UK’s poorest communities. This has been found to partly account for the massive increase in national rates of poverty, particularly child poverty. The link between poverty and health has long been established; a region with a high rate of poverty tends to correspond with a lower standard of general health and mental health.

My study is interested in how people who live within an area with a relatively high rate of poverty, such as Greater Manchester, may experience changes to their mental health throughout their engagement with the benefits system and receipt of Universal Credit. Claimants who are vulnerable to mental health related issues and mental health conditions, such as those who receive additional disability benefits like PIP, often see their need for support intensified throughout the process of engagement with the benefits system. What is less well known is, how those without pre-existing mental health conditions may experience changes to their mental health throughout the process of claiming.

Prior research has identified various aspects of claiming that may impact upon mental health, such as being subject to the Work Capability Assessment and having to deal with the rigors of meeting conditionality measures to avoid being sanctioned. However, while I am interested to talk about these kinds of issues, I am particularly keen to allow individuals themselves to identify what aspects of claiming Universal Credit may have affected changes to their mental health.

I aim to interview 30 people who have reported changes to their mental health throughout the process of claiming; this may include those with pre-existing mental health conditions, or those who have mentioned experiencing mental health related issues since starting to claim. I am interested to hear from anybody who lives within Greater Manchester and is open to discuss this topic by drawing upon their personal experiences.

The study will explore perceived changes to mental health at various stages of claiming Universal Credit, with a specific focus on:

•  The financial impact

•  What aspects of claiming Universal Credit may be seen as helping, or being unhelpful, to sustaining a
good standard of mental health

•  Possible issues around meeting conditionality measures, including in-work

•  How people claiming Universal Credit may feel they are seen by others; both their friends and family, and
by wider society

Joe Pardoe PhD student article for GM Poverty Action

Joe Pardoe

In order to support this study, I would be very grateful to hear from anybody whose job involves providing some kind of support to people who receive Universal Credit and have experienced changes to their mental health and may be open to being interviewed to discuss their experiences. If you are able to support my research or would like to find out more, please contact me via email

 

Joe is studying for his PhD within the School of Health and Society at the University of Salford , he is associated with the Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit and supporting the Salford Anti-Poverty Task Force. He gained a 1st Class honours degree in Psychology at the University of Bradford.

 

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Holiday Hunger

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A Snapshot of Activities and Food Provision in Greater Manchester

Children and young people who rely on school meals during term time, often struggle to be well fed during school holidays. If there is not enough food at home, hunger can be especially acute at these times, which can be socially isolating and detrimental to physical and mental health.

This is a growing concern – 59% of respondents to a National Education Union survey said that children in their school experienced holiday hunger. Of these, 51% said in 2018 that the situation has got worse in the last three years.

While the long-term solutions to food poverty lie in increasing incomes and making good food affordable and accessible for everyone, this is a crisis that must be addressed now. I can give you a preview of a relevant section of our Food Poverty Action Plan that will be launched on Monday March 4th (please book your place here if you haven’t already). Along with many recommendations and actions to address the underlying causes of food poverty, the Action Plan recommends that leaders and systems across Greater Manchester should work together to:

  • Develop and implement a Greater Manchester-wide framework for the provision of healthy and sustainable meals for children and young people, during both term times and holidays, with reference to the school food standard
  • All 10 boroughs to support and coordinate holiday provision with food. Coordinate a Greater Manchester approach to access to food during the summer holidays, encouraging schools to improve access to facilities and kitchens. e.g.◦ Coordinate bids for funding from the Department for Education◦  Develop a toolkit for holiday provision with food, including how to navigate safeguarding issues that may arise◦  Sharing and replicating approaches and models such as Holiday Hunger in Wigan◦  Holiday Kitchen type clubs with food focused activities, working with partners to make best use of Children’s Centres where facilities are available

The government has shown some signs that it may be willing to take responsibility for the issue, with the Department for Education commissioning some pilot projects this year. Specifically there is a total of £9m available for “testing the coordination of free holiday provision (including healthy food and enriching activities) for disadvantaged children during the 2019 summer holidays in up to 9 upper-tier local authorities. The aims of this grant programme are to develop a more efficient and joined-up approach to free holiday provision for disadvantaged children; and to ensure there is enough good quality free holiday provision to meet the demand from children eligible for free school meals (FSM) in the local authority during the 2019 summer holidays.” The bidding process closes on February 7th.

GMPA are encouraging and offering to support bids from across Greater Manchester. To that end, today we publish analysis of a survey that we ran along with Greater Together Manchester last year to get a snapshot of some of the provision during school holidays across Greater Manchester – please download that analysis here, and use it to inform your preparation and activities with children and young people during school holidays.

Good practice suggests that in order to reduce the stigma associated with projects that aims to reduce food poverty, any project or service should be focused on the provision of activities that are accompanied by food, and that the project or service should be open to anyone.

We asked the respondents whether they provided activities in addition to food and 19 of the respondents said that they did. When asked for further details, they cited a number of different activities as shown below:

Holiday Hunger graphic for GM Poverty Action

An excerpt from the survey analysis

Tom Skinner editorial article for GM Poverty Action

Tom Skinner, GMPA Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Feeding the city

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Feeding the City: Greater Manchester

Saturday January 19th, 2019

The Food Poverty Action Plan for Greater Manchester will propose many actions for businesses seeking to benefit and improve access to good food in their local communities,so it is great timing to be able to share this opportunity.

Impact Hub are putting on a free workshop to help you develop ideas for sustainable food businesses to benefit your local community. Funding, training and advice will be available for new businesses through the Feeding the City program, and this workshop will help you to develop your ideas, ready to apply for this funding – please note that the deadline for funding applications following the workshop is Sunday January 27th, 2019.

When: 1:30pm – 5pm, Saturday January 19th 2019

Where:
 Bridge 5 Mill, 22A Beswick Street, Manchester, M4 7HR

How to book: Places are limited, so please book for free using this link

Our city region is growing and we’re struggling to feed ourselves sustainably. We want to support you to make change! What food problems would you like to solve for your community?

Do you play with the idea of starting a social business, or already have an idea in mind?

Feeding the City is a fully funded 12 month programme that will support sustainable food start-ups across all of the UK. Successful applicants will receive bursaries, and have access to business and food expert advice and training throughout 2019. At this Idea-Generating Workshop you will be supported to develop an idea for your own social business, get to know others working in similar areas and have a chance to learn more about Feeding the City. Using concrete tools, you will be helped to think through important elements of your idea in a structured way and to identify blind spots. Furthermore, you will receive valuable feedback and also learn which criteria are important in the funding application. Even those who have no concrete or only a vague idea are welcome.

Please note, any queries about the Feeding the City program should be directed to Impact Hub, while you can find out more about the Greater Manchester workshop through the booking form.

 

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End Hunger UK – Conference 2018

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A growing movement? End Hunger UK conference 2018
By Dr Charlie Spring, University of Sheffield

On World Food Day 2018, the End Hunger UK campaign convened its second annual conference in Westminster to discuss the growing movement around household food insecurity in the UK. A broad coalition of food aid providers, think tanks, faith leaders, researchers, local authorities, artists and diverse experts by experience, End Hunger represents a national effort to galvanise public and policy attention to evidently large numbers of people struggling to afford adequate food. We don’t know how large; one panel discussed the ongoing Bill to measure food insecurity nationally via the ONS Living Costs and Food Survey. It is hoped such monitoring would give a more robust sense of the scale and severity of UK food poverty, to be tracked against changes including Universal Credit rollout and Brexit.

Power of stories and frames

A key theme of the day, however, was the power of stories and images over stats in capturing public and policy attention to food poverty, its causes and solutions. A collaborative photo exhibition, ‘Behind Closed Doors’, has toured the UK with portraits and research into experiences of food insecurity, some displayed at the conference and ending in the House of Commons. We heard young poets recite moving submissions to a recent poetry competition. The Food Foundation are collecting submissions of lived experiences towards their Children’s Future Food Inquiry, while the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) aim to build an online Story Bank of lived experiences of food insecurity.

A panel led by Church Action on Poverty reported research by JRF and the FrameWorks Institute into effective ways to shift public discourse about poverty. Countering individualising, blame-and-shame accounts requires keying into commonly-held beliefs about the injustice of poverty and government’s responsibility to protect against it, using well-chosen examples and stories rather than relying on numbers alone.

Whose problem?

Coordinated by Sustain’s Food Power programme, partnership structures such as the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance have been forming around the UK to ask how food poverty might be addressed at local and regional levels. The End Hunger UK gathering therefore required us to think about scales of responsibility for preventing poverty. I heard discussions about how local networks of food banks might better share their food supplies as demand increases. It was encouraging to hear food bank leaders discuss exit strategies over the next few years, and we must help them to realise these goals as my research shows how difficult this has been in the US and Canada

Some alliances expressed frustration at local authorities producing poverty strategies yet lacking any funds to turn aims into actions. Public health workers have conducted needs assessments and written proposals that end up ignored by senior colleagues. Yet, affecting national government and company policies that affect benefit and wage levels felt too tough a goal for many of the local alliances I spoke to. End Hunger UK, then, provides one lens through which to target a palpable collective anger. Another potential shared voice was offered by the school students of Blackburn and Darwen who have been organising as part of Food Power’s efforts to involve experts by experience in campaigning. The girls, who shared their stories for a short film, are launching a campaign Darwen Gets Hangry, which they hope will encourage others to turn their own experiences of shame and guilt about being food-poor- or ‘hangry’- into something collective and targeted that can spread to other parts of the UK.

Food Power Conference report by Charlie Spring for GM Poverty Action

Charlie Spring

The girls shared a panel with a group of asylum seekers from Luton who are also part of End Hunger UK, who formed a growing group after seeking Red Cross food parcels and now cook their produce as community meals. One lady, still seeking asylum after 16 years, told us she understands why some of the families she meets spend their money on drugs, even before food; they don’t have enough love, she said, or motivation and opportunities. Her expression of shared purpose with the Darwen girls to counter government indifference, gave a hopeful sense that the divisive forces of Brexit and far-right populism might be countered by intersectional
struggles of solidarity against the erosion of public entitlements and the human right to decent food.

This is an abridged version of an article that Charlie wrote for the Realising Just Cities blog – you can see the full version here

 

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Your Local Pantry

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“It’s more than just a full tummy, it’s a massive link in the community”
Stockport Homes Pantry article for GM Poverty Action

Stockport Homes opened the doors to its first pantry in 2014. This was a time of welfare reform and the surge in food bank vouchers allocated in Stockport made it apparent that there needed to be another option available, one that would help and support people before they reached crisis point.  It was hoped that the pantry model could help relieve financial pressure in people’s lives, and be a sustainable resource that would bring communities together.

Stockport Homes Pantry article for GM Poverty Action The pantry is a volunteer led, community food resource with local residents signing up as members and paying a small weekly subscription fee (£3.50 in Stockport). In return for this, members can visit the pantry once a week and select their own items from a wide variety of goods. This includes chilled, frozen, dairy, fresh meat and fish, fresh fruit and veg and all the usual store cupboard favourites. These items are often worth in excess of £15.00 at retail value.

The ethos of the pantry is to offer dignity and choice:
•  Offers a hand up not a hand down – we are not a foodbank or crisis provision, we aim to prevent people from reaching this point.

•  Provide access to holistic, wrap around support linked to areas such as money advice, housing, health and employment and skills

•  Community led – members and volunteers keep our shelves stocked and our pantries open and as such must be at the heart of pantry development empowering themselves and their local communities by co-running their own Pantries.

•  The volunteer scheme supports people back in to paid employment

Stockport Homes Pantry article for GM Poverty Action

Stockport Homes Brinnington Pantry.

All money raised is reinvested straight back in to the project, paying for the day-to-day costs as well as raising a small surplus. This surplus allows the pantry to buy additional stock and essential equipment where required. The majority of our stock comes from FareShare, a national charity who redistribute surplus stock from large supermarkets and food manufacturers to projects like ourselves.

As at September 2018, four pantries were open in Stockport, with a further one scheduled before the end of the financial year.

The pantry network has a significant impact on local communities, with 9266 individual visits to the four pantries in 2017/2018 generating a collective saving of £115,825.

Its 25-30 strong group of volunteers from the local community and Stockport Homes’ staff have donated 4,735 hours during 2017-2018, covering everything from the cash office, supporting customers with their pantry shopping, behind the scenes administration and receiving/sorting deliveries.

Many other social landlords and community groups are now interested in replicating our model through the Your Local Pantry social franchise. Over 30 pantry style schemes are now operating in Greater Manchester with many more coming on board from across the UK.

The package includes help and support setting up from a dedicated officer, bespoke software, volunteer hand book and a full operations guide. To find out more about this exciting opportunity contact Anna Jones  0161 474 4760

Church Action on Poverty (CAP) manage the social franchise on behalf of Stockport Homes, to help people to set up community cooperative food stores nationwide. To discuss what is included in the package of support and costs, please contact CAP via laura@church-poverty.org.uk or telephone 0161 872-9294.

For more information about all food providers across Greater Manchester please visit GMPA’s map.

 

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Existence of foodbanks tells us all we need to know

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By Graham Whitham

Last week it was reported that government ministers have drawn up plans to investigate how many people are being forced to seek emergency food support and the reasons why .

For many people this will feel several years too late, as the huge growth in foodbanks since 2010 has provided ample evidence that the social security system is broken and that many households are unable to make ends meet.

The number of foodbanks in operation, and the number of people accessing them, has increased over a prolonged period during which wages have stagnated, people have felt less secure in work, local authority budgets have been slashed, benefits have been cut, living costs have risen and the use of benefit sanctions has increased.

The response of society to these problems and the resultant increase in hardship has been nothing short of incredible. Groups of people, often led by volunteers, have come together to find ways to meet people’s basic food needs. In 2012 there were 200 Trussell Trust foodbanks in operation across the UK, they now operate over 400. In 2013, one estimate suggested there were 60 emergency food providers in Greater Manchester. GMPA’s Emergency Food Providers Map  shows there are now at least 171 (most of which are independent providers run by localcommunity groups).

This is an incredible societal response. However, it is not a substitute for an effective social security system that prevents people from falling into hardship in the first place. A proper policy response is required from government, one that acknowledges the consequences of a stripped back and punitive benefits system and starts to heed concerns about the rollout of Universal Credit.

Government plans to investigate the causes of increased foodbank use represents an important step towards recognising the need for fundamental reforms to the social security system that can help fix the broken safety net and provide a platform on which we can drive down poverty.

There are things the government could do today to help address the hardship people are facing.

Graham W UK poverty strategy article for GM Poverty Action

Graham Whitham

A Child Poverty Action Group report out this week shows how simply design flaws with the monthly assessment of pay and circumstances (flaws the government were warned about back in 2012) in Universal Credit are pushing people into debt and hardship. Design flaws the government could address now.

Reinstating the scrapped discretionary Social Fund, ending the two child limit on benefits, introducing the yellow card system for benefit sanctions and making sure people on Universal Credit keep much more of their earnings are all measures that would help alleviate financial hardship.

In a week when the Trussell Trust have been calling for extra donations to help them meet increased need during the summer holidays, it is clear that many households in the UK are being pushed into unnecessary hardship and that we need a swift response from government.

 

 

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Reflections on the Food Power conference

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Charlie Spring, chair of the “Measuring and Monitoring” sub-group of the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance, represented us at the first ever conference of Food Power, the national body of food poverty alliances.

Food Power Conference report by Charlie Spring for GM Poverty Action

Charlie Spring

As the work of the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance gets underway, it’s a great time to learn from the challenges and successes of alliances around the country. Food Power is part of Sustain’s long-term work building fairer and more sustainable food systems, and has helped to fund the formation of over 50 alliances, from Aberdeen to Kernow (Cornwall), and ranging in size from Lockleaze ward in Bristol to an alliance covering the whole of South Wales.

A blistering day in Cardiff City Hall held an intense day of talks, workshops and discussions about how collective work can add value to existing efforts to tackle inequality and poverty. To open a workshop on developing action plans, I presented the structure we’ve adopted to organise ourselves in Greater Manchester, as themed sub-groups working to develop specific aims and actions within the coordinating fold of the Driver Group, the influence and barrier-busting work of the Reference Group and the scrutiny of the Diversity Group to ensure our processes and aims address multiple dimensions of food poverty for different groups.

We heard from cities further along the action planning and delivery process, such as Brighton whose action plan progress report has just been published. Some have conducted action research, some have worked to embed food poverty into council strategies and others have acted to galvanise the work of diverse organisations from holiday hunger programmes to community cafes.

A key concern was around the value and challenges of involving people with lived experience in building the movement. We were shown a powerful film of school students in Blackburn/Darwen who demonstrated the value of such involvement in shifting their sense that poverty is something that happens abroad, or that only affects homeless people. Memories of the shame one girl experienced receiving free school meals were transformed into gratitude for such entitlement and, with it, anger that such entitlement could be taken away. Learning to see their own ‘food poverty’ in the context of Food Power had empowered them to understand their own experiences as a form of expertise that could be used to create systemic change. However, others questioned the language of ‘food poverty’- do people have to define themselves in terms of a lack, or should we instead use the term food  inequality? Or, is food/fuel/period poverty simply poverty, with food a useful lens to create community and collective activism? Or, as Kath Dalmeny powerfully argued, should we centre our work on the Right to Food, a right which the UK government has signed up to protect and fulfil? Maybe it’s lawyers who should be calling leaders to account on poor hospital food, or mushrooming emergency food demand in the wake of Universal Credit rollout. People-powered, food-powered change: about maximising family income, defending services and, given that environmental and social injustice are closely related, protecting the soil to ensure future food supplies.

I left with new ideas on evaluating the added value of working in partnership (new jargon e.g. ‘collective impact’, and a new task of making sure everyone understands it!). I learned about the work of organisations and projects I was unfamiliar with – Alexandra Rose (vouchers for fresh food), Leapfrog (tools for engagement) and a story of how Luton’s Community Food Hub enabled segregated communities to challenge their stereotypes and resentments by sharing strawberry-growing skills.

At a time of Brexit and migration debates, food and meal sharing can be a way to transform narratives about the real causes of poverty and bring oppressed communities together rather than blaming each other. But I’ll give the final word to Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Mark Drakeford. He described the mixture of rage and gratitude he feels for community organisations providing free food and clothes for families who otherwise would be unable to send their kids to school for lack of uniforms. He described the powerful work of Food And Fun, the Welsh Government-supported holiday hunger programme providing healthy meals, nutrition skills and sports at ever-growing numbers of schools. He concluded with a reminder that devolved administrations’ hands are tied – they, and we, do not control the benefits system and ultimate responsibility lies with Westminster. However, we can ensure we best use our services to “mitigate the roughest edges of growing up in poverty”. We can only do what we can.

You can read more about the Food Power conference, and download presentations, here.

 

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GMFPA Surveys

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Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance

Please tell us about action on holiday hunger and strategic work on food in each borough

GMPA’s Food Poverty Alliance already has over 100 organisations working together on a Food Poverty Action Plan for Greater Manchester – you can join us here if you haven’t already – so we have a good understanding of the range of actions on food poverty across the city region. However, there are two areas that we need to understand better at this stage, so have worked with Greater Together Manchester and FareShare Greater Manchester to produce two surveys and are asking everyone who might have relevant information to respond and share widely:

1 School Holiday Activities and Food Provision

To be completed by every organisation involved in school holiday food provision in Greater Manchester.

Holiday hunger is a situation that occurs when a child’s household is, or will become, food insecure during the school holidays. It is estimated that 3 million children are at risk of holiday hunger in the UK. We want to find out more about the organisations providing school holiday activities and food provision across Greater Manchester. We will use the information provided in this questionnaire to better understand the scope of current provision and how this relates to the areas of greatest need. We will also be able to look strategically at gaps in provision and work with partners to address this. Please fill in and share the survey here

2 Addressing Food Poverty – Existing Strategic Work

To be completed by every local authority, third sector infrastructure organisation, and anyone else who is collaborating on responses to food poverty in their area of Greater Manchester.

We know that a great deal of strategic and coordination work is carried out in many boroughs of Greater Manchester, however food is often addressed in policies that primarily focus on other topics. We therefore want to understand all of the existing strategic policy and coordination work that mentions or includes food in any way. We will use the information provided in this questionnaire to understand how food policy is embedded in other policies, and what coordination work is carried out in each borough, so as to better work together and develop complementary strategies. Please fill in and share the survey here

 

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Update from GMPA’s Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance

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Following a successful launch and empowerment evening, the real work of the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance has begun.  The work of the Alliance is now being coordinated across several subgroups who will co-produce a Food Poverty Action Plan for Greater Manchester.

The Action Plan, to be launched early next year, will be co-produced by people from each borough of Greater Manchester, including experts by experience – people who have lived experience of food poverty. It will set ambitious but achievable aims for Greater Manchester to tackle food poverty, and a clear set of actions needed to achieve these aims. As we identify people and organisations whose support will be needed, we will ask them to work with us now in developing solutions, rather than simply presenting a set of actions to them at the end of the year.

Six themed sub-groups have been tasked with developing their own sections of the Plan – this table shows some of the themes that they will cover, and information on how to get involved. Everyone who receives this newsletter will be welcome to any or all of these meetings, even if you are not on the Alliance or sub-group’s mailing list, but please do email the chairperson(s), copying in GMPA at food@gmpovertyaction.org so they know to expect you, and so they can include you in future communications.

Themed sub-group:  Place-based access to food:
Topics include:  Research into areas of GM that lack healthy and affordable food options
Chair:    Graham Whitham
Meetings: Has met twice, next meeting to be confirmed (TBC)

Themed sub-group:  Children experiencing food poverty
Topics include:  Access to fresh, sustainable healthy food during both term times and holidays. Food education both inside and outside schools
Chair:    Dominic Coleman   Letitia Rose
Meetings: Has met twice, next meeting 21st July

Themed sub-group:  Causes of food poverty
Topics include:  Benefits, support, advice and in-work poverty.  The food system and food supply chain mechanisms
Chair:    Dr Mags Adams;    Secretary:  Nayan Joshi
Meetings:  Has met twice, next meeting October 2nd 11am – 1pm Church House:

Themed sub-group:  Food banks and beyond
Topics include:  Coordination between social food and food aid providers. Sharing good practise and exploring new models
Chair:    Lily Axworthy
Meetings:Has met twice, next meeting TBC

Themed sub-group:  Measuring and monitoring food poverty
Topics include:  Measuring food poverty. Monitoring actions taken to reduce food poverty
Chair:    Charlie Spring
Meetings:  Has met once. Next meeting 6 – 8pm, Monday July 9th, MMU

Themed sub-group:  Skills and training for people in poverty
Topics include:  Cooking skills; Access to food/skills; Employment;  Food production
Chair:    Adele Jordan    Maggie Lister    Helen Walker
Meetings:  Has met twice, next meeting TBC

Tom for GMFPA article for GM Poverty Action

Tom Skinner, GMPA Director

There is also the Driver Group which coordinates the process, the Reference Group for people in positions of power and influence who can help to address any issues that the sub-groups identify, and the Diversity Group, which will advise the other sub-groups about how to address food poverty for everyone (please email Atiha Chaudry, to join this group).

It is clear that there is a great appetite for action on hunger, so please join us in this coordinated and strategic work to tackle food poverty together.

The Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance is hosted by GMPA. The project will develop a Food Poverty Strategy for Greater Manchester which will be published early next year. 

 

 

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GM Food Poverty Alliance

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The Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance is off to a Great Start!

GMPA were delighted to launch the Food Poverty Alliance at a packed Methodist Central Hall last week. Individuals with their own experiences of food poverty and representatives from councils, charities and businesses, all came together with one aim – fighting food poverty in Greater Manchester.

Bishop John Arnold for GM Food Poverty Alliance for GM Poverty Action

Bishop John Arnold

Bishop John Arnold who will chair one of the alliance’s groups, said, “Food poverty is a scandal that reflects on all of us. Working together we can make a difference to Greater Manchester.” He went on to thank all those already involved in making a difference but added that a city region like Greater Manchester should not need to have over 170 food banks.

The aim of the alliance in the first year is to co-produce a Food Poverty Action Plan for Greater Manchester that will aim to:

• Reduce and prevent food poverty

• Support communities to plan and adapt to the challenge of food poverty

• Address structural issues that underlie food poverty, such as the benefits system and precarious and low-paid employment

The launch event was based around group discussions, encouraging everyone to play their part in developing the Action Plan. The first group discussion discussed a set of principles that should guide the way we work together.

Full room at GM Food Poverty Alliance launch for GM Poverty ActionWe broke up into seven groups for the second set of workshops, based on different aspects or themes of food poverty, and discussed what the Action Plan should aim to do for Greater Manchester on each theme. Our starting question was, “If all of Greater Manchester were to get behind the work of the Food Poverty Alliance, what could we achieve?” The aims that have emerged from those discussions are as ambitious as we hoped, and come from a real understanding of the issues, the challenges and the possible solutions.

JO Wilson at GMFPA for GM Poverty Action

Jo Wilson, Co-production and Policy Officer at the GM Mayor’s Office, compered the event

We were also due to hear from local writer and campaigner Charlotte Hughes on her own experience of food poverty, but she was unable to attend, so we have featured her story on page three of this newsletter as part of our Beyond Poverty series.

Tom Skinner at the GMFPA launch for GM Poverty Action

Greater Manchester Poverty Action Director, Tom Skinner

To have gathered so many people, and to have a hall so full of energy, passion and great ideas, was a perfect way to start this work together. The Driver Group (see next page) will now develop a brief for each themed sub-group based on their discussions at the event, and then each sub-group will continue meeting to develop a Food Poverty Action Plan for Greater Manchester, which will be launched early next year.

Please read on to see how you can get involved.

Back on Track at the Food Poverty Alliance launch for GM Poverty Action

Back on Track serves up a tasty lunch

We were grateful to FareShare and Back on Track for providing the catering for the launch.  Back on Track did a magnificent job providing a tasty meal and snacks for a wide variety of diets.  Thanks!

Food Power logo for GMFPA article for GM Poverty Action

 

 

Join the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance

You can still join GMPA’s Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance – just email Tom

If you are interested in one of the sub-groups, please also indicate that in the sign-up email so you can be added to the list for that group. There are nine groups – the Driver Group, the Reference Group and seven themed sub-groups:

GM Food Poverty Alliance diagram for GM Poverty Action

  1. Place-based access to food, looking at areas of Greater Manchester that do not have healthy and affordable food options
  2. Children experiencing food poverty
  3. Causes of food poverty, looking at underlying structural and economic issues such as universal credit and low-paid or
    precarious jobs
  4. Food banks and beyond, looking at how we can better coordinate, develop best practice models for, and explore different models of food aid and social food provision
  5. Measuring and monitoring food poverty
  6. Skills and training for people in poverty, looking at issues such as health, budgeting, and cooking
  7. Diversity Scrutiny Group, which will advise the other sub-groups to make sure the Action Plan addresses food poverty for everyone

 

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