Sharing Derby’s simple solutions to help the cost of living crisis

Following on from the success of the Sustainable Food Places Day of Celebration and Action, we hear from a food partnership coordinator and their MP about their work to tackle the cost of living crisis.
01/08/2022

Jonathan Goldberg

Jonathan Goldberg

The organiser of a Derby food network told MPs from across the country how the city is helping to tackle hunger, food supply and social disadvantages when he addressed a meeting at the Houses of Parliament.

Paul Brookhouse, who runs the Derby Food 4 Thought Alliance, explained how the network is pioneering a new way of bringing people and organisations together to help families at the event, which he attended with Derby North MP Amanda Solloway.

Called the Sustainable Food Places Network Day of Action and Celebration, the event was organised by Food Matters, the Soil Association and Sustain, with representatives from a number of the 80 or so food partnerships across the UK invited along to talk about their work.

The Government believes food partnership networks are instrumental to helping address the cost-of-living crisis response and other organisations who took part travelled to the capital from towns and cities including Cardiff, Brighton and Leeds. 

Amanda said: “The cost of-living crisis, especially the rises in food prices, is having a real effect on people’s lives, but the work that Food 4 Thought network is doing shows that it is possible to bring organisations together to relieve the hardship that many families are facing.

“I have worked with Paul for many years and I know how determined he is to use food as a starting point to tackling the more deep-rooted challenges that can hold back the most vulnerable people in our society.

“It was a privilege to deliver a presentation with Paul about the great work being done here in Derby and it was inspiring to hear from the other organisations around the UK doing so much to support the disadvantaged in their communities.”

The Food 4 Thought Network is supported by Derby Community Action and was set up last year to help alleviate the effects of the COVID pandemic. It is now continuing its work to help relieve food poverty by working with a number of organisations across the city, including supermarkets, to deliver food parcels to families.

It is also looking to set up community shops and is seeking to use signposting, education and advice to address deeper issues such as food waste, the climate and food insecurity, in order to empower communities and effect long-term change for the future.

Paul said: “The reality of the cost-of-living crisis is that our aim is to simply help people survive this winter and there is a need for a package of interventions to help address this.

“While we need £250,000 to ensure projects are able to support the work of our network effectively, we also need local partnerships such as the one we have with Amanda, who is helping us to co-ordinate simple solutions within her constituency.”

Watch the recording of the SFP Day of Celebration and Action here.


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What you can do

The ‘Developing a food strategy’ theme of the SFP Toolkit – the blue section – contains resources to help you develop a sustainable food vision and strategy. In particular these resources will be useful:

Develop an action plan to deliver the food strategy in an inclusive, participatory and collaborative way through following suggestions in the Action planning guide and facilitating Action planning workshops

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Guides & toolkits

Creating a Food Citizenship World toolkit: Together, we are the food citizenship movement. Join the Food Ethics Council in taking actions to create a food citizen world together. Help the #FoodCitizenship movement spread and flourish. 

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Local Policies

Bristol Food Policy Council secured strong references to food in the Health and Wellbeing Strategy. The HWB has a key strategic aim to use ‘our combined influence and commissioning to support work to tackle obesity, nutritional deficiency and food poverty’. The Health and Wellbeing Strategy has 10 key priorities, one of which is food (page 5). The aim is ‘to create a healthier, more sustainable, more resilient food system for the city to benefit the local economy and the environment’.

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