Tackling food poverty, diet-related ill health and access to affordable healthy food

City initiatives

Use the links below to see practical examples of how places around the UK are taking action.

1. Establish a multi-agency partnership

Birmingham Food Council looks at a city-level response to food insecurity in this report submitted to the APPG on Hunger and Food Poverty

Brighton and Hove Food Partnership have produced a case study which looks at how the partnership developed a city-wide food poverty action plan, from the initial reflections on poverty in the city to the ways of measuring the success of the plan.

Glasgow and Edinburgh released a joint council leaders' statement on food poverty to support a Scotland-wide church led conference ‘Beyond Food Banks’. It was followed by a statement from the Directors of Public Health in Edinburgh and Glasgow which emphasised the health consequences of food poverty.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council have brought together third sector, businesses and other public sector partners to agree a cross-cutting food poverty action plan.

Lambeth Council launched its financial resilience strategy in July 2014. A group of statutory agencies, food banks, food charities and advice and support providers meets regularly to address food poverty aspects of the strategy.

Nourish Scotland outlines in this paper what role community food hubs can have in addressing food poverty and in stimulating the local food economy.

2. Promote the living wage

300 businesses in Brighton & Hove’s are paying the Living Wage. A recent study found that 70% of businesses noticed a positive impact on their staff and 60% of businesses also noticed a positive impact on their business.

Lambeth Council supports raising the living wage and has a report to help contractors, schools and others to become London Living Wage Employers.

3. Provide advice, referral and support on food access

Bristol’s The Matthew Tree Project provides an individualised food poverty service for residents using a social enterprise training and distribution model.

Lambeth Larder have published a reference booklet for local & emergency food which contains an up to date list of locations and hours of food banks, resources for saving money and budgeting, food growing and more. 

Midlothian Council, Changeworks and MFIN offer coordinated support, including a community food map and avoiding food waste, for people experiencing hardship.

Stockport’s Food Bank offers emergency food parcels to residents across the whole Borough, using vouchers that can be exchanged at a range of distribution centres.

4. Increase understanding of food poverty issues

Belfast Food Network's report Enough is Enough: Why we urgently need to tackle food poverty in Belfast looked into why use of food banks has increased in the city.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals offer nutrition training courses to educate and support patients, carers and health professionals across the Bradford district.

Brighton and Hove Food Partnership provides food poverty advice and resources for advisors and health professionals.

Brighton & Hove City Council has, in recent years, been including a question on food/fuel poverty in their annual weighted survey of residents contributing to knowledge gathering on local food issues. It asks “Thinking about next year, how much do you agree or disagree that you will have enough money, after housing costs, to meet basic living costs? By this I mean to pay for food, water and heating?”.

Devon County Council have produced a briefing on food poverty and schools which looks at breakfast clubs, holiday schemes and other support schemes available.

Good Food Oxford tried to understand the Extent, nature and drivers of food poverty in Oxford and how it could engage with residents in the most deprived neighbourhoods.

Kirklees' Food Initiative Nutrition Education programme offers training to community organisations and volunteers who wish to teach healthy eating and cooking classes in their neighbourhood.  

London Borough of Lewisham's report Putting Food on the Table looks at understanding food poverty in Lewisham by exploring food bank use. The report makes recommendations for addressing food poverty in the long-term.

London Borough of Sutton has looked into the causes of food poverty, how to measure it and what support services exist in their Food Poverty Needs Assessment.

5. Provide healthy weight services and initiatives

Brighton and Hove Food Partnership’s Healthy Weight Referral Service is a one-stop shop for people looking to access weight management programmes.

Cornwall Healthy Weight helps residents find exercise, weight loss and healthy eating classes near where they live.

Healthy Stockport provides online healthy eating advice for residents, including portion control, diet and nutrition.

Manchester Community Food Coordinators deliver free healthy eating, weight management, cooking and nutrition course in local community settings. 

6. Promote Healthy Start, free school meals and social food provision

Carlisle’s Fair Meals Direct is an innovative service working to get ‘hearty, healthy, locally-produced food’ to some of Carlisle’s most vulnerable people.

Exeter's Make Lunch kitchens provide free, healthy, cooked food during the holidays for pupils who usually receive free school meals.

Food Cardiff piloted 'Food and Fun', a school holiday enrichment programme providing nutritious food and fun activities for children during the holidays.

Hertfordshire Independent Living Service provides what used to be the Meals on Wheels service as well as a range of other services to support independent living for the elderly. 

Leeds City Council has developed a toolkit to help schools and caterers to increase the uptake of free school meals.

Nottingham City was the object of a study to identify the gaps in the uptake of Healthy Start Vouchers and what solutions could be found to increase accessibility.

Sheffield City Council provides a list and map of lunch clubs for vulnerable and socially isolated older people.

South Lanarkshire County Council's community meals service has become the first in the UK to achieve the Food for Life Catering Mark.

Welsh Government Primary School free breakfast initiative provides children with the opportunity of receiving a free, healthy breakfast at school each day.

Whalley Range Taste Buds connects people who enjoy cooking and enables them to share their home-cooked food with elderly neighbours.  

7. Increase the availability of healthy options

A number of cities have developed their own Healthy Choice Awards, including Brighton and Hove, Kirklees, South Oxfordshire and Tameside.

Cardiff Council provides nutrition training to catering staff across all secondary schools as part of its commitment to the Welsh Government’s Appetite for Life initiative.  

Haringey Council (p7) has helped open up a healthy fast food, using free-range, local and seasonal produce whilst keeping it appealing to young people.  

London’s Takeaways Toolkit helps fast food outlets understand the options available when considering the health impacts of their food offering.

Sheffield International Venues is imposing a 20p levy on drinks with added sugar in all its vending machines across the city. The revenues generated will go to obesity and diabetes prevention programmes for young people. 

8. Curb the development of food deserts and food swamps

London Healthy Urban Development Unit has published a good practice guide: Using the planning system to control hot food takeaways.

Waltham Forest has adopted supplementary planning guidance to deny planning permission to new fast food outlets within 400 metres of schools.

Leicester City Council introduced a Street Trading Policy to prevent burger vans trading outside schools.

The Food Access Radar toolkit was developed by Staffordshire County Council and Oxfordshire County Council as a tool for identifying areas where people have problems accessing healthy food.

Contacts

Tom Andrews
Soil Association
07 717 802 188
tandrews@soilassociation.org
www.soilassociation.org


Victoria Williams
Food Matters
0127 343 1713
victoria@foodmatters.org
www.foodmatters.org


Kath Dalmeny
Sustain
0207 065 0902
kath@sustainweb.org
www.sustainweb.org


Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Sustainable Food Cities is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation