FOOD POVERTY ACTION PLAN
In December 2016, the GLA made funding available to support five London boroughs to develop a Food Poverty* Action Plan, with the London Borough of Merton being successful in their application. Following this, the council's Public Health and Policy, Strategy and Partnerships teams contracted Sustainable Merton to help lead the development of the plan.
*'Food poverty encompasses both the affordability of food, as well as its availability within local communities.' - Sustain
Aim of the Plan
To achieve a consistent, coordinated and strategic partnership approach to tackle people’s inability to afford, or to have access to, quality food for a healthy diet.
To make better use of surplus food and reduce food waste in the borough.
To strengthen, support and raise awareness of the strong active community and voluntary sector in Merton working to tackle food poverty locally.
A key aim is to build on the existing work of the strong active community and voluntary sector in Merton working to tackle food poverty locally, including improving sign-posting and the joining up of existing assets as well as reduce and re-use surplus food in the borough.
Updated version coming soon!
Developing the plan
Two successful consultation workshops run by Sustainable Merton in 2017 helped to inform the development of Merton's Food Poverty Action plan. From these, we were able to:
Analyse and better understand factors affecting food poverty
Map the needs of residents in the borough and the services currently on offer.
Connect a range of partner organisations to explore solutions
Engage local stakeholders as well as FareShare, Mayor’s Fund for London, Olio and Sustain to give their input and share experiences.
Food Poverty Operational Steering Group
Sustainable Merton was one of the key partners involved in establishing and leading Merton's Food Poverty Operational Steering Group in June 2018. The Group, currently led by Merton Council, aims to coordinate the implementation of the Action Plan.
The aim of this work is to develop and improve links between food providers and beneficiaries, make better use of surplus food, help to reduce food waste and increase volunteering in food poverty-related groups.
At a meeting in February 2020, attendees agreed on a number of priorities for action. These included Healthy Start (targeting children), raising awareness of food poverty with businesses and residents, looking at who is giving surplus food to whom, increasing food growing and addressing food hunger during school holidays.
The sheer volume of groups and teams working within the area of Food Poverty Action was something of a surprise (who knew so many people cared?!); from the London Borough of Merton to Wimbledon Food Bank and Merton Voluntary Service Council (to name a few!), plus Sustainable Merton chairing the whole thing."
In 2019, Merton was recognised as one of the top ten London boroughs leading the way in tackling food poverty in their area.
Sustainable Merton is proud to be a key partner in this work and we will continue to work with local residents and businesses to address the issues of food poverty and food waste within the Merton community.
Beyond the Food Bank
Healthy Start - Healthy Start provides free vouchers for food including milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, infant formula and vitamins to applicants who qualify.
Chartwells - support for nutritious school meals