A grant fund for groups which help put food on people’s plates will be extended as the council continues its commitment to help residents during the cost of living crisis.
Published: Friday, 10th March 2023
The decision came at a meeting of Cherwell District Council’s executive on Monday 6 March, when a review into work being done to improve people’s access to food was presented.
Not-for-profit organisations involved in food provision for residents can apply for a share of the fund, which has so far given grants to community gardens, growing spaces and cooking skills classes across north Oxfordshire. A further £20,000 has been allocated to allow this funding to continue in 2023 – 2024.
Councillor Phil Chapman, Food Champion and Portfolio Holder for Healthy Communities, said: “We don’t want anyone to go hungry in Cherwell district, and we will continue to work with our local partners to help make a difference.
“So far, we’ve issued ten community food grants to organisations that are providing food to those who need it and who are giving people the opportunity to think more about what they put on their plates and the connection it has to the natural world.
“Since we declared a food insecurity emergency last summer, we’ve done some innovative work to support our residents. That has included investing £352,000 to provide food vouchers to residents on housing benefit as well as initiatives to provide food to young people and the elderly.
“We believe that access to food will continue to be a problem for some people in the district and we are now starting work on a longer-term vision for tackling that with Good Food Oxfordshire, using our influence and our connections in the local area to make a real difference.”
The UK’s rate of food poverty is amongst the worst in Europe with the cost of living crisis exacerbating the issue. Supporting the most vulnerable residents across the district continues to be a priority for the council.
As well as approving the continued grant funding, the executive gave the green light to the objectives the council will pursue as part of its district food strategy, which will be developed in partnership with Good Food Oxfordshire through a food insecurity working group.
The goals include supporting independent food producers, working to embed sustainable food principles in institutional catering and supporting the redistribution of surplus food.
Eligible organisations can find out more about the community food organisation grants by searching on www.cherwell.gov.uk