We’ve had a month of news coverage for our Food Poverty Project!

Our Food Poverty report is in the Ham & High local newspaper today! 

13 May is the last day of the campaign which has garnered media coverage in the Ham & High, the Evening Standard, the BBC Eddie Nestor Show and the Camden New Journal, so we’ve been in the media every week for a month! We’re really pleased and grateful for all the support our campaign got, including support from award winning ‘Walking Dead’ actor David Morrisey, the Felix Project, Lifeafterhummus Community Benefit Society. They gave the social media push as well as the two wonderful case studies who helped too. We’ve reached many more people than we expected and are pleased to lisiase with so many in the community and social media to highlight the issue.  

Healthwatch Camden is interested in health inequalities, what causes them and what can be done to tackle them. Food poverty is a focus because it is a cause of health inequalities. 

For the project we surveyed people to get their views on what holds them back from eating a healthy diet, including cultural challenges. People interviewed included homeless people, Bangladeshi and Somali women and people on low incomes. We also asked the charities who are helping vulnerable people who experience food poverty what they think should be done to tackle the issue of food poverty and waste. A social media campaign launches on 30 April and runs until 13 May to show what the surveyed people and charities said including what they want done by decision-makers and health professionals.    

Award winning and ‘Walking Dead’ actor, David Morrissey helped to launch the project via a video on social media. Actor David Morrissey is a regular Felix Project volunteer who has not only helped to tackle food poverty and food waste but has also helped to significantly improve TFP’s profile. This has resulted in more volunteers and ultimately to more free food being delivered.

Frances Hasler, Healthwatch Director said: “We’re pleased to collaborate with three organisations who are working to help people who are unable to afford or have limited access to food that makes up a healthy diet.

 “National policy recognises, that tackling food poverty as vital if we are to reduce health inequalities, Camden in particular has rising numbers of people and children experiencing food poverty.

“It’s crucial that people’s voices are heard so that their problems can be looked at, and also that the charities helping them have a say on how the national problem of food poverty can be tackled. Our social media project and accompanying research will give a snapshot of what people and organisations experience and need. We hope that decision-makers and health professional will take their views on board.”

Farrah Rainfly, founder of Lifeafterhummus Community Benefit Society said: “We’re delighted to be part of this project. A way to tackle food poverty and unhealthy eating is to make sure that people know how to cook healthy, nutritious food at an affordable price, that’s why Lifeafterhummus has weekly cooking classes to teach people the skills they need so that they can better manage their health.

“Many of our participants leave the class saying that they feel more knowledgeable and able to cook healthily for themselves and their families. They often express the desire for more free cooking classes.”

Damien Conrad, Enfield depot manager, said: “The Felix Project was set up by Justin Byam Shaw in memory of his son Felix, who died from meningitis in 2014. We collect unwanted food that would otherwise go to landfill from high street chains, supermarkets and restaurants and distribute it for free to schools in London and more than 270 charities.”

Vanessa Hemmings, Assistant Director, Single Homeless Project (SHP) said: “SHP works with individuals to tackle the underlying causes of homelessness, such as poor mental health or drug and alcohol dependency. We also help vulnerable individuals who live in the community but need support with housing and food.

“With cuts to public services affecting the most vulnerable, many individuals are finding that their benefits don’t cover their basic needs including the ability to afford healthy food.

“We need more support to help those in need to get access to healthy food. We also need more deliveries of free food that would otherwise go to waste so that we can help more people.”

Healthwatch Camden is an independent charity and part of a national network of 152 strong local Healthwatch.  Our role is to give patients, service users, carers and local people a stronger voice so that they can influence the provision of health and social care services and get the right support to manage their health and wellbeing.  

We hope that health professionals and decision-makers will listen to what local people want to help them tackle food poverty. We also want to ensure that the views of the charities and non-profits helping people get heard so that we can all make a difference.   

As part of the campaign, we pplan to issue a report mid-year to show the results of the research.   

Comment below and share your thoughts on food poverty!