Community Roundtable Event – addressing food poverty & holiday hunger in Buckinghamshire
On Wednesday 7th July, The Clare Foundation held a roundtable event to explore how the community can come together to address food poverty & holiday hunger this summer!
The event brought a variety of key organizations that previously had been delivering food support services, and were planning activities this summer. The focus of the event was to develop a plan to support individuals and families who are struggling to afford good food across the Buckinghamshire community.
The roundtable helped us to:
- Raise awareness of the issues relating to financial insecurity, current level of need in Bucks
- Raise awareness of upcoming schemes to address food poverty and holiday hunger
- Discuss funding streams available
- Create connections, encourage greater collaboration and it is hoped this might be the catalyst for new partnership projects
Key takeaways from this event:
- A growing number of people living in Bucks have been experiencing financial insecurity over the last year, due to Covid, and this has impacted people’s access to good food.
- Buckinghamshire Council’s Helping Hands Team have referred over 300 people to food banks since it came into being last year.
- More people are accessing support from the food banks across Bucks in 2021 compared with 2019/ early 2020. The number of people being supported by the One Can Trust has doubled, compared with the numbers pre-Covid.
- Charities and community groups have been instrumental in providing food support within their communities – through food parcels and free hot meals.
- The need for food support is likely to grow, there are over 73,000 people in Bucks currently on furlough and the furlough scheme is due to end in September.
- Buckinghamshire Council are supporting families through central government grant funding – over £1.1 million distributed in school holiday supermarket vouchers for Free School Meals to eligible children. The Winter Grant and Local Support Grant funding has been made available to the VCSE to deliver community food projects.
- The Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF) will offer targeted support to families who are eligible for benefits based free school meals over the school summer holidays and Christmas holidays. There are 11,000 places available across Bucks. This is one initiative to avoid children experiencing holiday hunger.
- The Public Health Team at Buckinghamshire Council are funding several community growing projects, with the aim of giving more families access to healthy food.
- We learned about the new charity, the Bucks Food Partnership. Their mission statement is “everyone is entitled to a ‘Right to Food’ that is sustainable, accessible, healthy, tasty, culturally appropriate and good for nature and the environment. They have a sub group focused on food poverty.
The Clare Foundation would like to thank the following organisations for joining us in this event and contributing towards an impactful project for the community!
Daytop Multicultural Centre CIC / The Big Community Takeaway / House of Mercy Aylesbury / St Peters Loudwater / Autism and ADHD Journey Buckinghamshire / Public Health – Buckinghamshire Council / Food Hub Richings Park / Welfare – Buckinghamshire Council / Helping Hands Team Buckinghamshire Council / Bucks Students’ Union / Pebble Brook School / SV2G / Buckinghamshire Family Information Service, Council / Bucks Food Partnership / Aylesbury Vineyard Storehouse / The Chandos Arms / The National Energy Foundation / One Can Trust / Community Impact Bucks / Burnham Health Promotion Trust / House of Mercy / Aylesbury Foodbank / Church (Benefice of Aston Clinton, Buckland & Drayton Beauchamp) / Active in the Community CIC / Rothschild Foundation / Rothschild Foundation / Citizens Advice Bucks / WISE / St Peter’s Burnham – Burnham Care & Share / All Together Community CIC