Increasing Access to food and cooking equipment
Sarah lives in Wem and finds the Co-op expensive. She would like to shop at Farm foods, but cannot afford the bus fare into Shrewsbury. She contacted Iceland to see if they would deliver, but they told her they do not cover the Wem area.
People on low incomes need to be able to access to low cost, healthy food. However, many people living in poverty do not have a car and cuts to public transport, particularly in rural areas, makes it difficult for families to access cheaper supermarkets. Even in towns access is an issue for those without their own transport.
Food prices rose 28% in UK between 2007 and 2016. Smaller towns and villages have limited food outlets, and food is often sold at a premium rate with few healthy options.
Action 6: Increase access to affordable healthy food through community meals, cafes, pantries, growing projects and surplus food
Increasing access to free or low-cost healthy food can provide invaluable assistance to people on low incomes. Using the principles of practice developed by the Alliance, both existing food projects and new food initiatives can be developed to increase access, particularly in rural areas. Community projects have the potential to increase access at the same time as increasing well-being, for example by bringing people together for a meal. Projects need to focus on groups who are at high risk of food poverty, including children, people with a long-term illness or disability, and the elderly. Actions could include:
supporting community growing projects and linking farms to food co-ops at schools and community centres
community cafes and meals,
accessing surplus food through community food hubs, pantries and fridges
food delivery services to rural areas through partnerships with existing services
building on innovations in social prescribing and voucher schemes for healthy food
Action 7: Improved access to cooking equipment, particularly in emergency housing
Many people in emergency housing are placed in hotel rooms where the only cooking facilities are a kettle, or at best a microwave. People can find themselves living in this type of accommodation for extended periods of time. In these situations, alternative means of cooking a healthy diet should be explored, for example through the provision of a slow cooker.