Supporting food provision to Birmingham residents

Published: Thursday, 30th March 2023

Funding for youth centres to improve their kitchens as part of the council’s response to the cost of living crisis has supported the provision of more than 10,000 meals in the last six weeks.

Council funding of £14,000 has been given to youth centres across the city for new equipment to help them provide more nutritious, hot food.

It has also enabled young people to learn skills and be more engaged with menus at their youth clubs.

This funding is in addition to the £480,000 of food provided for food projects, going directly to Birmingham citizens – £800 for 6 months to 100 organisations.

A further 16 food projects have had applications accepted for the Supplementary Food Aid Fund - £400 for 3 months - and the council has provisionally accepted nearly 70 applications to the Affordable Food Infrastructure Fund, to support foodbanks and other food projects with equipment and infrastructure for the longer term.

The winter iteration of the Holiday Activities and Food programme has seen more than 1,800 parcels provided for Birmingham families – that's 28,800 meals (4 meals for a family of 4) after BCC match-funded existing funding from the Department of Education.

There's been no waste as undelivered boxes were given to Incredible Surplus to be redistributed.

There has been really positive feedback from the community.

Snouber Sharif, manager at Women Empowering Women food pantry, said: “A lot of the people we have are women who have young children who are struggling to meet costs. It is social too, a lot of women come in for a chat, a cup of tea and meet each other to share recipes and also tap into our other activities that we have during the week.

“One of our ladies has said she wouldn’t be able to access this type of food normally because she couldn’t afford it and it’s given her a chance to try different things, especially with healthy and nutritious food.

“I can’t express how much the city council grants have helped, I think it’s really amazing how they have recognised the problem and are addressing it, I think Birmingham is doing a lot to help communities.”

People attending the Women Empowering Women Food Pantry have spoken about how important the provision is to them.

  • "I can’t afford much at the moment so a lot of the things they have here are a God-send to me. Especially when I can get cereals and coffees so cheap."
  • "I heard about if from a friend it’s good because I can walk it here. I don’t have a car so I have to get a taxi to the supermarket once a month. The pantry is so easy to get to I think it’s a great idea."

Similar comments come from people at Birmingham Outreach Foundation.

  • “Finally having a hot meal during the week makes such a huge difference. I think it's very easy to take for granted what a warm meal and a warm drink can do to a person's mood. I'm very grateful for this help. It's not just the food that makes a difference, but the kindness and compassion of all the volunteers who serve it.”
  • “I've found a community that supports and cares for me. The hot meals that you provide make all the difference to me. Not only do I get a warm meal, but I also receive extra food and drinks that I can take back to my friends who can't make it to the outreach.”

Cllr Mariam Khan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “There is fantastic support work being done across the city by amazing organisations and volunteers who are playing their part as they know their communities best. I know from feedback that the extra support the council has offered has made a huge difference, offering a real lifeline when costs are spiralling and more and more people need help. I am pleased that the council really has stepped up in responding to the cost of living emergency in supporting people and families through food provision, something which is a basic necessity.”

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