Launch of GM Food Poverty AllianceTuesday 8th May 2018
Today the Greater Manchester food poverty alliance was launched at a packed Methodist Central Hall. Individuals with their own experiences of Food Poverty and representatives from churches, charities and businesses, all came together with one aim – fighting food poverty in Greater Manchester.
The meeting heard from Bishop John who will chair one of the alliances groups.
He said – “Food poverty is a scandal that reflects on all of us. Working together we can make a difference to Greater Manchester. “
He went on to thank all those already involved in making a difference but added that no city region like Greater Manchester should need to have over 170 food banks.
Two weeks ago a report came saying a record amount of food parcels were given out last year. Around 36% of them were provided for children. This report should have shocked us. It should have been the lead headline. It wasn’t. By the time the nightly news came it didn’t even make the headlines. We now live in a society where reports of this nature are not exceptional. They have become the norm.
But there’s nothing normal about living in a rich country where children need emergency food parcels, where people in work are struggling on low pay and cannot afford to feed themselves and where a balanced healthy diet is being priced out of reach of families.
It is easy to look at statistics like a 400% rise in food bank use over the last 5 years; express our concern and say that we think something should be done. It is more important that we look at these statistics and take action. Action to reduce the 171 food banks currently needed in Greater Manchester, but also action for the individuals behind the numbers. Every one of the reports that are produced about food poverty are a collection of stories. Stories of families where the parents have to choose between heating their home or feeding their children, stories of young people denied their benefits who will go to bed without eating that day.
It is these stories that brought everyone together to the launch of the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance.
The aim of the alliance is to bring together the work of groups already on the ground and expand on the role of the public sector to tackle some of the issues around food poverty. The joint strategic action will produce a Food Poverty Action Plan for Greater Manchester that will aim to:
- Reduce and prevent food poverty
- Support communities to plan and adapt to the challenge of food poverty
This alliance will have a place for people from all walks of life, from all across Greater Manchester. Participants can be in the public, private or social sectors. They can be leaders in positions of power, on-the-ground practitioners or people with lived experience of food poverty. The Alliance, and the Action Plan, will be stronger if co-produced with people who are living with the experience of food poverty.
The simple fact is that in our country, in our region, in our city no-one has to go hungry. This alliance aims to make sure this is the case.