LOCAL coalitions of churches, charities, businesses, and the public sector will be given a total of £1.6 million to tackle food poverty under a new project run by Church Action on Poverty (CAP).
The new funding comes from the National Lottery, and will be given to develop “food poverty alliances” in 32 areas in Britain, in the programme Food Power.
CAP, working with Sustain — an umbrella group that works for more sustainable agriculture and food policy — will use the money to encourage local organisations to devise an action plan in response to food poverty in their neighbourhood.
The groups will also share what they learn more widely, in the hope that successes can be replicated in other parts of the UK. The project also hopes to give voice to those experiencing food poverty.
The Food Power programme co-ordinator, Simon Shaw, said: “There is no one solution or quick fix to the rise in food poverty, but we know that building local alliances can help to build an effective response.”
In 2014, the Archbishop of Canterbury launched Feeding Britain, a report on foodbanks, funded by his charitable trust and produced by the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom (News, 12 December 2014). It rejected the Government’s claims that the surge in foodbank use was due to increased supply, and called for reforms to the benefits system, and a rise in the minimum wage to meet the “unprecedented levels of need”.
Although the issue of foodbanks has largely receded from the political sphere, a report last year concluded that they were “here to stay”, and referrals because of low income and debt continued, even as the numbers of those driven to hunger by benefit sanctions were falling (News, 29 July).
For information on Sustain’s guide to developing a new local-action plan based on the lessons learnt by existing alliances, visit https://www.sustainweb.org/publications/developing_food_poverty_action_plans.