Frank Field MP launches ‘Feeding Birkenhead’ for a hunger-free town
Birkenhead MP Frank Field is today launching the first pilot project to wipe out hunger from the town.
The “Feeding Birkenhead” scheme is the result a national parliamentary inquiry into hunger and the MP is bringing together local churches, charities and schools as part of the campaign.
Mr Field said: “The national fight-back against hunger begins here in Birkenhead.
“We’re bringing together our churches, charities, schools and supermarkets to get food to those in need and, as importantly, to use this as a way of beginning to deal with the major problems in people’s lives.
“An important first goal is to make sure no child in the town goes hungry in the next school holiday at Easter.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of churches and other bodies already helping to overcome poverty in Birkenhead, and they are to be saluted. Feeding Birkenhead is about how we can build on these efforts to form an effective response to hunger in the town.”
He said a key part of Feeding Birkenhead will involve diverting more good surplus food that would otherwise go to waste from supermarkets’ supply chains to those groups working with people in need.
Feeding Birkenhead will also seek to offer activities alongside this food such as cooking courses, budgeting and debt advice, and awareness of relevant benefits and utility schemes to help ensure that people having to rely on food banks need only do so once.
The Feeding Birkenhead project will also campaign to raise awareness of the specific issues that push individuals and families in the town to the brink of hunger.
The project will also push for local improvements, for example, in the time taken to administer new benefit claims and the take-up of emergency payments.
The MP said an immediate priority is to gain funding to cover the provision of food for hungry school children during the upcoming Easter holiday and he will be writing in January to every primary school and some secondary schools in the town inviting them to apply for grants of up to £2,500 from the Birkenhead component of Your Wirral – a fund established by Magenta Living and Wirral Council.
At the meeting last week at the Wirral Christian Centre when the Feeding Birkenhead scheme was formed – the MP set up a network with the objective of working towards a hunger-free town, involving FareShare, Wirral Food Bank, YMCA Wirral and representatives from 17 local churches and other voluntary groups.
The Birkenhead MP is also campaigning for reforms at a national level – on low pay, the costs of household essentials and the administration of benefit claims – to help reduce the need for food banks.
The Birkenhead component of Your Wirral is to be used to fund programmes that feed hungry children during the school holidays, or for new breakfast clubs or after-school food clubs. The deadline for applications is Noon on Friday January 30, 2015
Any school or other local organisation wishing to apply for grants from the Birkenhead component of the Your Wirral fund can email Frank Field on firstname.lastname@example.org
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