Challenging Poverty in Glasgow
This post was originally published as a guest blog on the Community Food and Health (Scotland) website.
Challenging poverty in Glasgow
Mark Fitzpatrick, Director, Glasgow Community Food Network
Challenge Poverty Week is coming up. (2 -8 October)2, which aims to challenge the injustice of poverty and show how collective action can help. One of its five policy asks is around food, ‘A Scotland where no-one goes hungry’.
Many community food initiatives work in collaboration with others to address poverty. One example is Glasgow Community Food Network (GCFN), which brings together a wide range of community food initiatives, including those addressing poverty within the city.
In recent years GCFN has worked with the Independent Food Aid Network, Trussell Trust, Nourish Scotland and Glasgow’s Advice and Information Network to produce a ‘Worrying about Money?’ leaflet, which is used by community organisations to signpost people to relevant money advice and other services.
It has also published ‘Glasgow, Tackling Food poverty with a City Plan’, a report written after supporting and documenting the city’s response to food security issues during the pandemic. This comprehensive report discusses problems and solutions that are just as relevant today, such as the importance of supporting ‘cash first’ options; the difficulties that asylum seekers may have with accessing affordable and acceptable food; and social enterprise models that could help improve local food supply and the local economy.
GCFN’s next project will be identifying and exploring potential developments for cash first approaches, with a focus on where there is currently a lack of service provision.
GCFN is part of the Glasgow Food Policy Partnership. The Partnership’s Glasgow City Food Plan (2021- 2031) aims to develop a more co-ordinated response to food poverty, including supporting ‘advice first’ and ‘cash first’ approaches via its wide range of community and public sector partners.
One of the many projects across Glasgow includes ‘Thrive under Five’, led by Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership and which aims to enable a healthy weight in children under the age of five. Its actions have included reducing food insecurity in its pilot areas by helping families to maximise their income, via money advice services and working alongside community pantries and community food initiatives to support families access affordable food and build their skills and confidence around food and cooking.
The Glasgow Food Policy Partnership’s Food Plan was discussed as part of a recent Food Summit to consider its successes and challenges so far. Challenges include stretched capacity and too many actions may have been planned. However, the good relationships that have been developed through the partnership and the use of the plan to provide strategic direction, were considered successful. The Partnership’s next steps are to refresh the Food Plan and to continue to support Glasgow to address a range of food issues, including food insecurity and poverty.
For more information contact Glasgow Community Food Network [email protected]