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Charnwood Food Poverty Initiative Helps Hundreds of Families

Charnwood Food Poverty Initiative Helps Hundreds of Families

A number of local organisations have developed a co-operative approach to tackling food poverty in Charnwood.

The Charnwood Food Poverty Group (CFPG) is a new, strategic initiative supported by 32 local community-based organisations. It aims to strengthen provision for those within the Borough of Charnwood who are struggling to afford or access nourishing foods.

Shocking statistics from national food bank organisation the Trussell Trust states that, in 2018/19, the number of food bank users in the UK increased by 19%, whilst identifying the new five-week wait for Universal Credit as an underlying cause for the rise in food poverty.

Chair of the Charnwood Food Poverty Group, Joe McSharry, said:

“We are extremely proud that, in July and August of 2019 alone, the CFPG helped an estimated 1,100 people and 18 local projects across Charnwood.

“To demonstrate the need for this provision: co-ordinating organisation The Bridge (East Midlands) gave out 737 food parcels to clients last year, on top of other partner agencies and neighbouring food banks.

“We hope that, by working together, we can continue to increase and improve the provision of food for those who need it most.”

Uniting organisations across Charnwood, the CFPG provides a stable and consistent stock of food provisions for partner agencies to access and disperse to people in need. Additionally, two Satellite Centres have been established in Mountsorrel and Shepshed alongside existing Charnwood food banks, in order to reach new areas and create a more easily accessible offer.

Sweta Gill, Food Poverty Development Officer at The Bridge (East Midlands), commented:

“Our new Satellite Centres are set-up in friendly environments, such as the Sorrel Youth Café, in order to help end the stigma around food banks and make food more easily accessible.

“Fresh produce from FareShare is stored in a Community Fridge, where people can simply take what they need, without a complicated referral system.”

The CFPG has already made a huge difference in expanding the capabilities of existing food banks; for example, partner agency Shepshed Food Bank has been accessing CFPG stocks in order to meet increasing demands over the school Summer holidays.

Established in April 2018, the CFPG hopes to create a more co-ordinated approach to tackling food poverty, ensuring that local organisations are working together and efficiently supporting the most vulnerable people in the local community.

With very limited funding to operate, the CFPG is currently seeking donations and gifts-in-kind from the public which will support the co-ordination of the group, the operating costs of the individual satellite centres and enable the provision of vital food to continue.

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