Feeding Bradford

Wellsprings Together Bradford has been working to tackle food poverty for over 3 and a half years. In that time we’ve set up a network open to all the projects feeding people in need. We’ve also supported the Keighley network which does similar work. Both networks meet regularly to build relationships, share good practice and offer support. We produce the booklet of where free meals can be obtained on a daily basis in Bradford and keep that information updated on our website.
More recently we’ve been exploring how we can take a step back from the crisis work and explore how we can work collaboratively to prevent people ending up need helping to feed themselves and their families. At the same time we were invited to be 1 of 12 national pilot areas who form the Feeding Britain initiative. Feeding Britain are an independent charity, established by members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger, to help put into practice the recommendations set out in the group’s Feeding Britain reports. Their objective is to work towards a hunger-free United Kingdom by 2020. They are pursuing this objective by supporting a series of projects to relieve and prevent hunger, and working for reforms at a national level to reduce the nation’s vulnerability to hunger.
So what does joining Feeding Britain mean for us locally? Liz Firth, Development Worker at Wellsprings Together Bradford, attended the first gathering of the pilot projects in Coventry on April 7th to find out more. ‘The meeting was well attended and we heard directly from a range of Feeding Britain Trustees, including MP Frank Field and Rosie Boycott (journalist and Chairperson of London Food). It was great to learn more about what other areas are doing, what initiatives are making a difference and some of the challenges we’re all facing’, Liz said after the meeting.
The decision to become Feeding Bradford was taken at a well-attended meeting in Bradford on 23rd March. We asked attendees what they felt the priority areas of work should be for the next 12-18 months and a few key issues emerged, including:

  •        Supporting collaboration between local crisis food poverty initiatives to help them become more sustainable and also address levels of dependency within the users of services
  •        More collaboration with schools to offer more support to families who are struggling but also to increase awareness of existing support and develop more skills in food growing and preparing good food cheaply
  •        Recruit more capacity for projects by encouraging volunteering which will help projects be able to build relationships with the users of services and to start being able to understand and address the reasons they are in food poverty

  •        Auto-enrolement of children who are entitled to free school meals (Pupil Premium) with opt-out option for families
  •        Work to address Fuel poverty which we know is linked to food poverty
  •        Work with users of services to develop better understand of why they are in food poverty

We’ll be developing this work more over the coming months and will hopefully be recruiting a member of staff to lead this work. Please get in touch if you’d like to become more involved in Feeding Bradford.