GMPA’s Food Security Programme

Greater Manchester Poverty Action’s (GMPA) work on food security gathered pace in 2018 when we convened the GM Food Poverty Alliance. With over 100 people and organisations, including many with lived experience of food insecurity, we co-produced and published the GM Food Poverty Action Plan, outlining the actions needed for a concerted strategic response to address the underlying causes of food insecurity in our city region. We continue working to encourage implementation of the plan across GM.

Food Security Pilot Project

GMPA is now piloting a new place-based approach to supporting people experiencing food poverty, beginning in Tameside and Oldham, using a tool that enables anyone who refers people to a food bank to first identify income maximisation advice.

The tools are developed in partnership with the VCSE sector and the local authorities in these areas.

This new approach centres around three fundamental points:

•   Whilst emergency food handouts are currently necessary, they do not prevent or reduce food poverty.

•   The only real way to reduce food poverty is to ensure people have access to a decent and reliable income.

•   Identifying what kind of advice or support people need to maximise their income or access cash support, and who provides that advice, can be difficult.

The Government’s own research shows that, even prior to the pandemic, one in twelve of all households in the UK were experiencing low or very low levels of food security.

While food aid is a lifeline, it cannot reduce or prevent food insecurity, as it does not resolve the underlying causes. The only sustainable, long-term resolution to food insecurity is to ensure everyone has access to a decent and reliable income.

At GMPA we have mapped almost 250 food support providers across Greater Manchester, who supply millions of meals every year.

Tameside Referral Tool for GM Poverty ActionWe are embedding use of the referral tool with organisations that direct people to food banks or other emergency food providers. This enables them to first identify suitable income maximisation advice. We are encouraging the agencies to make an active referral, ie an appointment, with an organisation who can provide support rather than simply signposting eg giving someone a phone number to call or a website to visit. The aim is to help tackle the underlying causes of food insecurity, and reduce the reliance on food banks, pantries and food clubs.

We would encourage anyone referring service users in Tameside to food banks etc to access the referral tool here, (the Oldham tool will be published soon) and help enable people to access income maximisation support.


If you are using our referral tool, or plan to do so, we would appreciate your feedback about how you are finding the tool and its use – this feedback can be positive or negative, we want to learn and make this the best process it can be.

Feedback form button for GM Poverty Action

Reporting: Please use this form to help us collect data about how the referral tool is used, what support people are accessing, and what support people need but cannot access. This will help us to learn from the pilot and improve the process, as well as highlighting any gaps in support. This form is specifically to tell us about people you have used the tool with, who have come to you needing a food bank voucher. Please complete this simple form on a monthly basis to help us achieve this and make support for those experiencing food poverty stronger.

Reporting Form button for GM Poverty Action

You can sign up to receive GMPA’s newsletter, including updates on our Food Security Programme, here.

The Food Security Programme is a Greater Manchester Poverty Action programme.

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