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, according to the Centre for Cities 2017 report, it has 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, fuel or food.
Cambridge City Food Bank, which was established in 2010, gave 3-day emergency food supplies to 6,458 people in crisis in 2017, an increase of around 27 % from 2016. Holiday Lunch Clubs in areas of need were started in 2015 and 3,021 people were fed in 2016/17. 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 many meetings, including the City Council’s Tackling Poverty and Isolation conferences, Cambridge has recently set up a formal Food Poverty Alliance, with a view to pull together all the work on food poverty that is being done throughout the City and surrounding villages, with a view to:
- consult with users of relevant services and organisations providing services
- share resources, best practice and information locally
- research what has been done successfully elsewhere
- develop a Collaborative Food Action Plan to ensure an evidence-based joined-up approach to food poverty in the City
Organisations which form the Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance Steering Group:
To see how the Collaborative Food Action Plan will be developed, see here.
We led a workshop at the Tackling Poverty and Isolation Conference 2018 introducing the Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance and what it would involve. The slides from the workshop are below!