Food Poverty in Cambridge is not acceptable
Cambridge is a small city, but one that is economically booming for many, mainly due to IT and biomedical companies connected with Cambridge University. However, it has recently been named as the city with the highest level of income inequality in the UK. Abbey Ward in Cambridge is among the 20% most deprived wards in the country and there are areas of deprivation in Arbury, King’s Hedges, East Chesterton and other parts of the city. Housing costs are extremely high and many people are in a situation where they have to choose between paying the rent or eating, or heating or eating. Cambridge City Food Bank, which was established in 2010, gave out 4,552 3-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis last year, an increase over the previous year. Holiday Lunch Clubs in areas of need were started 3 years ago and numbers of people fed have increased dramatically year on year.
For some time a number of organisations in Cambridge have been working to help people experiencing food poverty, whether they are in crisis or “just about managing”, but in danger of falling into crisis if their circumstances change. There are also regular meetings of some of these groups, for example a group of all organisations offering Holiday Lunch Clubs. Following a number of meetings, including the City Council’s Tackling Poverty and Isolation conference, Cambridge is in the process of setting up a formal Food Poverty Alliance, aiming to pull together all the work on food poverty that is being done throughout the City and surrounding villages, with a view to
• consulting with users of relevant services and organisations providing services
• sharing resources, best practice and information locally
• researching what has been done successfully elsewhere
• developing a Food Poverty Action Plan to ensure an evidence-based joined-up approach to food poverty in the City
Cambridge Sustainable Food (CSF) is applying for funding for a Food Poverty Action Plan coordinator from Food Power
Organisations who are already part of the Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance:
Cambridge Sustainable Food
Other organisations are expected to join soon.