Survey - Future of Food Support in Bradford

Please take part in this short survey

Future of Food Support in Bradford

Wellsprings Together / Feeding Bradford are working with lots of projects, with a combined voluntary sector and the Council , and we have discussions of what next. We need to start to thinking beyond lockdown.

Food crisis and inequalities have been brought to the fore in the thinking of a lot more people. There is a real will to look at sustainable solutions.

If you want to get straight to the survey the link is here

None of us have a crystal ball – however we are starting to think what happens after lock down – can you help us with this?

We know before this crisis hit

  • We had high levels of people living in poverty; struggling to afford the essentials – food, heating, repairs – and even more are one unexpected bill away from being in crisis
  • We have a sizeable group of people regularly using soup kitchens and/or street food services
  • That low cost and/ or pay-as-you-can market stalls and cafes provided a source of lower cost food in some parts of the district, though not all
  • That holiday schemes including the offer of food were successful and picked up on an increasing nee
  • That there were increasing numbers of Breakfast Clubs and after school meal offering which were being used regularly

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis we are seeing

  • A downturn in our economy
  • Uncertainty about when people will be able to fully return to work
  • An increase in people needing to claim benefits such as Universal Credit
  • A temporary halt on ‘sanctions’ for those claiming welfare benefits
  • A huge increase in the demand for foodbanks – demand for food parcels has nearly tripled
  • Fear and uncertainty for the future
  • Though extended, there are concerns around the ending of furlough, and the increased contributions needed by employers and the impact that might have on jobs
  • The detrimental impact for individuals and families who may not have been eligible for the Governments’ financial support system options
  • A continued fear of the virus and the possibility of a 2nd wave of infections
  • A fear of what happens if we stay in lockdown
  • A fear of the end of repayment holidays that many are currently accepting
  • Worry around the intention to taper off and end some of the specific Covid response funded work, e.g. for example the central food hub

Crystal Ball time?

It seems unlikely that the this trend will reverse in the short and medium term, the full economic impacts of COVID-19 are yet to be seen, repayment holidays will end, there are likely to be job losses as businesses change and/or close.
Food bank usage is likely to remain high. Its is anticipated that more people and families will find themselves struggling to manage their finances.

We don’t yet know what sort of continued support there will be for foodbanks and other crisis /low cost food providers or if the Department of Education funding granted to Bradford will be able to run summer schemes, like it did last year. This is due to not knowing what social distancing rules will look like.

From past experience we think

  • A mixed model of food support will be useful
  • People like to choose their own food and many like to pay what they can afford towards this as they feel more dignified
  • Some will still need free crisis food from foodbanks or meal providers, however for most people, ideally this is a short term need
  • Many community and faith-based organisations are really passionate about providing the support people need, and are doing great work in this area. These organisations, often with the help of volunteers, can provide excellent locally based support which often is great value for money too.
  • Food can also provide a route into getting people other support – social support, advice, addiction, mental health etc
  • Some low income households rely on easily sourced food, this can often be nutritionally poor. Support around access to food and cooking remains a necessity
  • As well as food support, other support is needed – hygiene products, nappies, baby equipment and school uniforms; fuel top-ups; benefits, employment and debit advice; support with budgeting; housing support; drug, alcohol and mental health support; access to low cost loans (such as the Credit Union); help avoiding high cost loans and loan sharks; – this is not a complete list…

An endless supply of free food

  • is not affordable
  • can lead to dependency
  • does not build dignity and self-esteem
  • And funds are unlikely to be available for it long term

And funds are unlikely to be available for it long term

Do you agree with this? – please say what I have missed or you disagree with Click here to email me

So what do you think would be the best way forward for us here in Bradford? Please fill in this survey and if you want to say more do feel free to email me.