A focus on prevention

 

Encourage initiatives which improve food skills to prevent people falling into food crisis

 

Skills based initiatives which improve cooking confidence may prevent people falling into food crisis and improve diets. These may be run as courses, or promoted locally via the Internet and social media. Information could include:

  • Meal planning and shopping on a budget. How to ensure a healthy diet on even the smallest of shopping budgets

  • Nutritional knowledge and promotion of the Eat well guide to encourage people to eat in line with government guidelines

  • Cooking confidence courses to encourage people to cook from scratch with cheaper ingredients

 

A focus should also be made to ensure that future generations have strong skills in these areas. Local schools should be encouraged to prioritise the delivery of the curriculum in the areas of financial management, nutrition and cooking skills

 

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

 

A number of agencies across Shropshire offer advice and support to people on low incomes. However many of these services have been reduced due to austerity cuts. To make best use to the resources available we should:

  • Ensure that people across Shropshire know where to go for advice and support on money issues

  • Provide information on where to get help with or prevent debt (Debt counselling and credit unions)

  • Collate budgeting tips and local advice to reduce outgoings such as household bills

  • Provide benefit checks to ensure that people are getting all the financial support they are entitled to

  • Promote benefits like Healthy Start which are currently under-claimed (just 64% of eligible families in Shropshire claim the benefit)

  • Promote changes to policy which would increase incomes (the living wage, welfare reform)​

We have developed the Shropshire Larder website which brings together much of this information. Find out more

Increased access to affordable healthy food

 

Access to affordable and healthy food is a particular issue in rural areas but can also affect anyone living some distance from a cheaper supermarket. We would like to see:  

  • Solutions which improve access to affordable healthy food, particularly in rural areas

  • Solutions which focus on groups who are at high risk of food poverty, including children, people with a long-term illness or disability, and the elderly

 

There are many inspiring initiatives already happening in Shropshire which increase access to affordable, healthy food. These successful ideas could be adopted in other parts of the county. For example:

  • OsNosh in Oswestry provide a weekly lunch made from surplus food which is open to all. Diners do not need to pay for their meal but may donate as much as they feel the meal is worth.

  • In Whitchurch there is a community fridge, where food can be taken for free by anyone who can use it.

  • In the heart of Wem Incredible Edible grow fresh fruit and vegetables which are available for anyone from the community to harvest for free

There are also fantastic projects running in other parts of the country, which could work in parts of Shropshire for example:

  • In Chesterfield there is an affordable food box scheme which provides a grocery shop worth around £40 for a subscription of £7 a week

  • In Manchester there is a food pantry which provides a basket of ten food items in return for a £2 membership fee

  • In Wales schools and other community venues run food co-ops where group buying enables access to healthy food at a low price

  • In London the NHS are trialling vouchers for fruit and vegetables on prescription

 

There are also fantastic initiatives which focus on the youngest and oldest in society including:

  • In Flintshire they are trailing ‘Good Food Hubs’ in community centres, running a weekly social event for older people where pre-prepared meals can be ordered for delivery the following week

  • Many parts of the country offer schemes which address holiday hunger, with a daily lunch provided throughout the school holidays, often in parallel with a free or low cost playscheme

We have developed principles for new food projects aimed at addressing food poverty. Find out more

 

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 temporary accommodation for extended periods of time.

  • Explore the feasibility of providing essential cooking equipment either at low cost or via a lending scheme