Led by Jen Griffiths - Benefits Manager, Community & Assets Portfolio - Flintshire County Council
The Food Poverty JDT started out in March 2018 as a place-based piece of work based in Flint. Very early in the work programme we realised it would not be possible or constructive to limit the food poverty work to this area (although there has been and remains a strong focus on this) and that in order to tackle food poverty and food insecurity as one of the root causes of health inequality we needed to widen our focus.
We have developed a specific network in Flintshire and a wider network across the whole of North Wales and have collectively agreed that:
Food poverty is the inability to afford, or to have access to, food to make up a healthy diet. It is about the quality of food as well as quantity. It is not just about hunger, but also about being appropriately nourished to attain and maintain health.
Good nutrition supports both mental and physical health and there is evidence which links nutrition to educational attainment in children.
Flintshire Council with Can Cook and ClwydAlyn have made a significant investment to establish a social enterprise Well Fed to help address food poverty in Flintshire and ultimately across North Wales. The model provides freshly prepared meals to ClwydAlyn Extra Care services which provides a core income stream to Well Fed, which then allows the enterprise to work on food poverty programmes.
Projects delivered include:
Delivering a free fruit initiative for high schools
An issued had been raised by a group in Flintshire around high school pupils who receive a free school meal allowance, who were using some of their allowance when they arrived at school to buy breakfast and didn’t have enough left to buy a proper meal at lunchtime.
After speaking to the 11 high schools in Flintshire, 10 of them were already funding their own breakfast club and pupils were receiving a free breakfast to ensure they started their day well.
However, we recognised that some children have a chaotic lifestyle and may not always arrive at school in time to receive a free breakfast, and so we looked into whether we could provide free fruit as a mid-morning snack. Working with our partners Newydd Catering and Cleaning, we were able to secure a fruit supplier to deliver fruit to the school on a weekly basis to enable us to carry out a 12 week trial, which was well received by pupils particularly with the younger age groups.
Following the initiative’s success, we were able to secure funding to roll the initiative out to the other 10 high schools this year.
“The challenge of mitigating the
negative and harmful effects of food poverty can only be achieved through cooperation, coordination and delivering together.”
Opening the Good Food Hub
The Good Food Hub in the Daniel Owen Centre, Mold, aimed to enable local residents to call into the hub to order their Well Fed meals. Well Fed is a food enterprise which aims to connect people through fresh, locally sourced food. With each meal purchased, the hub receives £1 to enable it to keep running for its members.
Well Fed also secured funding to launch a four-week slower cooker pilot in the Good Food Hub, which aimed to meet and work with families to understand their relationship with food.
Each participant was provided with a slow cooker and two slow cooker bags, with instructions on how to prepare and cook with them, along with a £10 voucher to spend on fresh products.
Free school meals
When schools across Flintshire closed in March 2020 because of the Coronavirus pandemic, we worked with Newydd Catering to delivery over 136,000 packed lunched over seven weeks to the doorsteps of all pupils that received free school meals.
Following this period we moved to a different approach, making a direct payment of £19.50 a week, per child, into their parent’s bank account to provide them with more flexibility to purchase the food they wanted for their children.
Emergency food support
Another measure implemented in response ot the pandemic was to provide emergency food support to people shielding, by enhancing the food parcel provision provided by Welsh Government with fresh meals.
The programme supports around 500 households each week and, when completed, will have provided around 54,000 meals.