Published Wednesday 14 February 2018 at 10:36
In December last year, Blackburn with Darwen’s Food Alliance was awarded funding from the National Lottery funded ‘Food Power’ programme. The work is part of the wider ‘Eat Well, Move More, Shape Up’ strategy and local authority declaration on healthy weight adopted by the Council and CCG last year.
Food Power is a national programme led by Sustain and Church Action on Poverty. It aims to strengthen local communities’ ability to reduce food poverty with help from other communities across the UK. The programme will support local food poverty alliances, learn and share good practice, involve experts by experience and evidence what works well at a local level.
Ben Pearson, Food Power’s Empowerment Programme Officer, said: “It’s really exciting to have Blackburn with Darwen involved in the programme. The enthusiasm and knowledge at the grassroots in the borough is evident, developing a food poverty action plan can only harness this and help facilitate long-term solutions. Empowering those with lived experience of food poverty to be involved in setting the strategy will be an important part of my role, exploring innovative ways in which their voices can be amplified, and their ideas implemented.”
Gillian Beeley, from Together Lancashire, who led the bid team, said: “The funding will support the development of a food poverty action plan for the borough which will aim to bring communities together to enable them to be more effective in tackling food poverty.”
Councillor Mustafa Desai, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “It’s great news that Blackburn with Darwen’s Food Alliance has received funding from the Food Power programme. This is another step in helping to tackle food poverty in the borough and helping those in need to access healthy and affordable food.”
Food poverty is caused by the affordability and availability of food. Low incomes, transport issues, fear of crime and cost of fuel are factors influencing access to food. A healthy diet is not always more expensive, and the programme hopes to improve demand for a range of healthy goods in local shops.
Blackburn with Darwen Food Alliance’s aim is to implement long term, sustainable approaches to tackling food poverty which address food waste, encourage sustainable food production and focus on healthy eating. The work planned includes crisis responses such as foodbanks, improving cooking skills and community produce schemes including allotment groups.
Work on the plan has already started and stakeholder events were held in autumn last year. Further workshops to engage and empower young people across the borough are planned for spring.