Menu for Action

Throughout 2018 we have been finding out what would make a real difference to people in food poverty, through workshops and surveys. We have developed these ideas into a 12-point menu for action.

 

We have called it a menu as this enables organisations to prioritise which actions they would like to adopt. Any response to food poverty needs to build from the resources available in each community and meet local needs, grassroots up. We have developed principles which all work in this area should follow.

This menu sets out how we can build on what we already have to support people in food crisis, prevent people falling into food poverty and strengthen partnership working. Some actions can be achieved by connecting existing resources, but many will need additional resources over a long period to put into practice.

Enhance emergency support for people in food crisis

1. Support food banks to build on the services they currently offer to tackle the causes of food poverty

2. Support food banks by creating a Shropshire Food Bank Network to share learning and solutions

3. Improve access to emergency food parcels out of hours and in rural areas

4. Enhance the range of food and non-food items provided in emergency parcels

A focus on prevention

5. Enhance advice & support for people on low incomes to help them increase their financial resilience            and maximise income

6. Increase access to affordable healthy food through community meals, cafes, pantries, growing projects        and surplus food

7. Encourage initiatives which improve nutrition and cooking skills 

8. Improved access to cooking equipment, particularly in emergency housing​

Changing the landscape

9. Build awareness of food poverty amongst policy makers, front line staff and the general public

10. Embed food poverty in council and NHS policy

11. Bring agencies together to provide a co-ordinated approach to food poverty

12. Research best practice, share learning and measure impact

Enhance emergency support for people in food crisis

Each Shropshire food bank has been developed by a group of volunteers to address local need. Many food banks offer more than an emergency food parcel, however the services offered vary around the county. With additional funding, training for food bank volunteers or building partnerships with other organisations there is potential to extend the range of services offered to people in food crisis to help them move out of food poverty. See more about crisis support

Building on the South Shropshire meetings run by the Diocese of Hereford, a Shropshire Food Bank Network would provide the opportunity for food banks to share knowledge and experiences and build closer links with other organisations. Creating partnerships with other agencies across Shropshire could enhance the existing referral process and lead to improved signposting to ensure that people in food crisis receive the help they need to improve their situation.

All Shropshire food banks cover large geographic areas. With such a large rural county, transport issues can be a major barrier for people needing to visit a food bank. The preference is for recipients to attend a food bank session, as volunteers are able to provide additional support and advice when people need it most. Some food banks have explored delivering food parcels out to rural areas but have found this to be resource intensive. One possibility is to identify partner organisations who may be able to store emergency parcels so that people can access them when they need them most.

Food banks rely on the generosity of the community to donate food items. A food parcel is made up of mainly long-life foods, and may also contain toiletries, household essentials and pet food. However, in some parts of the county donations do not meet the demand or the specific dietary needs of food bank clients. Food parcels for people living in emergency accommodation can be particularly challenging, as often there is no access to cooking facilities apart from a kettle.