We’re celebrating eating together across the city

Join our campaign – send us your photos of your #sharedmeal

It’s that time of year when you may be planning a Xmas lunch with your work colleagues, the full-on turkey extravaganza  or a knees-up with your mates.

Getting together to eat, drink and share time together is at the heart of The Food Partnership’s philosophy and has been proved to improve wellbeing and health.  Just sitting down to chat and share some food with others can help lift isolation, improve mood and give a sense of community.

The Brighton & Hove Food Poverty Action Plan aims to reduce hunger and food insecurity highlights this message, stating how it is important to ‘recognise the role that shared meals e.g. lunch clubs are playing in improving the health, nutrition and mental health of the city.’ For some of the most vulnerable people in our city, these meals can be a highlight of their week.

One Church Project Manager Amy Godwin runs the Chomp holiday club aimed at combating food poverty for children during school holidays when school dinners are not available. She says: “Eating together at Chomp gives families an opportunity to sit together around a table as an extended family to share food and conversation. Some of our families don’t have the space for the whole family to sit at the table at home or single children families miss the extended connections that a larger family can bring.”

All across the city, every day people enjoy a shared meal in a range of settings whether it’s a lunch club, at a residential home or educational setting or simply as work colleagues or friends. Sometimes they prepare the meals themselves, or volunteers get involved or it’s in a restaurant, canteen or someone’s home.

We want to celebrate the joy of cooking and eating together for the coming weeks by asking YOU to share your images of shared eating.

We’d love to see you with your lunch and eating companions. You could be wearing silly Xmas hats, your scruffy work clothes or maybe it’s a regular mealtime event. Just send them along. Tell us where you are, what you are eating and whether the meal is a regular event or a one-off.

There are three ways to send us your images

Through social media:

Facebook – www.facebook.com/btnhovefood

Twitter – @harvestbh. Use the hashtag #sharedmeal

Or email the pics to carolines@bhfood.org.uk and we will post them for you.

What else can you do to get involved?

Many of the organisations who provide lunches for the more vulnerable, isolated and in-need members of our city need help to continue their work.

Donate

You can donate money to a local charity such as Fareshare who distribute food which would be thrown away to local charities. Foodbanks usually take donations of food, but many say they also need cash to help with the organisation and admin of these important projects.

Visit our website for ways to donate to food projects in Brighton and Hove.

Volunteer

Many of the lunch clubs and shared meals settings rely on volunteers to keep going. If you have time to help out, we can help you find a suitable place.  You’ll be very much needed and will hopefully find it a rewarding thing to do. Visit our Volunteer pages on for further information or email our Volunteer Coordinator Jo Glazebrook at jo@bhfood.org.uk or call her on 01273 431716.

Another way to volunteer is to join Casserole Club Brighton and Hove. We match cooks who are happy to prepare an extra portion of food to a vulnerable adult local to them – providing some wholesome food and good company. Visit our Casserole Club pages to find out more.

Take a friend or neighbour

One of the major barriers for people attending a shared meal can be the lack of transport, confidence or simply not knowing where to go or that there is a lunch club nearby. They may not have internet access to be able to search for a place themselves.

Why not recommend a lunch club to someone you know, offer to take them or go along for the first time?

Look at the It’s Local Actually directory on the Possability People website to find lunch clubs in your area. Just search lunch and find places near you.

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