New figures show rise in food poverty

Today we release new figures showing a continued increase in food poverty in the city, including a further growth in food bank use.

There are now 15 food banks in the city and two thirds have seen demand go up in the last year. Food parcels were given to approximately 289 households per week, an 8% increase on 2014 figures.

 

However the good news is that today we also unveil a new initiative to tackle the problem. We've brought together more than 50 organisations in the city – from council departments to community lunch clubs and food banks - in a concerted and ambitious effort to tackle food poverty via a joint action plan.

Vic Borrill, Director of Brighton & Hove Food Partnership says:

"Food poverty is undeniably a problem in Brighton & Hove and we've come together to say that 'food poverty is unacceptable'. For any one organisation, this problem would be insurmountable, but together we can reduce the impact of food poverty on the health and wellbeing of local people."

Geraldine De Moulins, Chief Officer, The Fed Centre for Independent Living adds:

"In this day and age, no one in the city should be struggling to eat. We know that disabled people are experiencing difficulties as the welfare reforms hit, and that poverty drives people to make poor food choices.  The Fed are very pleased to be working with the Food Partnership and other partners to try to eradicate this."

The announcement couldn't be more timely as the last two weeks have seen the release of two high profile reports (Fabian Commission report: Hungry for Change and Beyond the Foodbank: London Food Poverty Profile); and controversy about what both government and cities can and should be doing in a times of budget cuts and reduced funding.

Alongside actions to address the underlying causes of food poverty the   Brighton & Hove Food Poverty Action Plan includes a vision of Brighton & Hove becoming 'a city that eats together' recognising the role that sharing food, whether between neighbours or in lunch clubs, plays both in making healthy food affordable and in reducing isolation. Shared meals and lunch clubs are the city's unsung heroes, tackling the long term, not just emergency food poverty.

Caroline Henderson, Hove Lunch Club organiser says:

"Our Lunch Club provides a hot meal for over 60 older people each week. For many of them, it's the only hot meal they'll eat - many are isolated through poverty, ill health or loss of family and friends. As our population ages and food prices rise, many older people can't afford to eat well. For some, they simply can't carry food shopping home. Today we've made Corned Beef hash using ingredients donated by Fareshare and after lunch, I'll be delivering some to a lady who is too ill to come".

A Brighton mum, who didn't wish to be named said:

"I can afford to buy fruit and veg, but high quality protein is expensive. I take my daughter regularly to CHOMP for a healthy warm meal. My daughter and I never skip meals, but I have to weigh up whether I buy her a new winter coat or not. I would really have to budget for this. The cost of everything has gone up. It's not easy."

The plan focusses on prevention by looking at the root causes of food poverty; identifies who is most at risk of food poverty in the city and commits to involving those people in designing solutions.

View  Press Pack for full details.