Camden joins campaign to tackle unprecedented hunger this winter
A campaign to drive much-needed support to food charities and local food hubs this winter has been launched by Dame Louise Casey with London Councils, The Mayor of London and leading national food poverty charities The Trussell Trust, FareShare, Magic Breakfast and Social Bite also lending their support.
The Covid Community Campaign will help to provide food and support to those struggling this winter.
The coalition behind the campaign have set out to build upon the community spirit and compassion seen throughout this year in response to Covid-19 and are asking the public, businesses, community and faith groups to give what they can to the campaign fund to support fellow Londoners. It is anticipated the campaign will go nationwide from next week.
Money raised will be distributed amongst the campaign’s charity partners - The Trussell Trust, FareShare, Magic Breakfast and Social Bite - and 20% of proceeds will go to local charities in each participating Council’s area, including here in Camden.
The campaign is also encouraging people to give money, food, essentials or their time in support of their local food hubs and other local charities providing vital support.
Food hubs are expected to face increasing demand with fewer resources over the winter months, as they step in to support those who are adjusting to life on Universal Credit, a loss of income or unemployment as a result of Covid-19.
The number of people on Universal Credit has almost doubled since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, from 3million in March to 5.7million in October, and recipients can struggle to access food and help.
In response to this rising food poverty crisis, the Covid Community Campaign is calling for the public to come together in support of their communities and visit covidcommunitycampaign.co.uk to find out how they can get involved.
The campaign also aims to go beyond the immediate crisis – providing essential support this winter – by building on the work each partner is already doing to tackle hunger, and working together towards a joint long-term solution that addresses the systematic issues that lead to food poverty.
The impact of Covid on lives, jobs and communities has been devastating. Across London we have seen residents forced into desperate situations, parents going without so their children can eat. Councils working with their communities are doing everything we can across the capital to provide a vital safety net. But we need help to meet the scale of the need we are seeing this winter. The last year has been tough but it's also shown when we come together to support each other we can do extraordinary things and I know by working together as Londoners we can make sure that no one goes hungry this winter.
Dame Louise Casey said: “This is a tough Christmas and Winter for so many people but above all we need to help those struggling for food and the bare essentials. No child should go hungry, no parent should go hungry to feed their child, and no one should be left struggling and without anywhere to turn this winter.
“Let’s build on the great spirit and resilience we’ve seen throughout this difficult year, come together for those in need of a little extra help this winter and lay the foundations to get Britain back on its feet for the better next year.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “No Londoner should have to go hungry or be forced to rely on a food bank, but the fact that this remains a painful reality for so many in our city, in the midst of a devastating global pandemic, is utterly unacceptable. The whole country simply must do more to ensure that access to nutritious food is not a privilege, but a basic human right for all. I’m so pleased that The Covid Community Campaign is showing the best of our capital by bringing together Londoners to support charities which are helping others in their time of need.”
To find out how you can support a food hub in your community or to donate to the Covid Community Campaign please visit covidcommunitycampaign.co.uk.
Universal claimants double in Camden
The number of people claiming universal credit in Camden doubled between March and May this year, from 8,000 to over 16,000.
Residents adjusting to a loss of income, life on universal credit or unemployment as a result of Covid-19 are increasingly likely to struggle to access nutritious food.
When the Council’s Covid-19 helpline launched in March, it was found that around one third of residents who needed emergency food packages did so because they were experiencing food poverty, not just because they were shielding.
In response the Council has provided over £1M in funding to Camden’s community organisations, faith and mutual aid groups, and has worked in partnership with them to distribute over half a million meals to residents.
The Council also stepped in to provide food vouchers over half-term to all Camden families in receipt of benefits with children up to the age of 18, supporting more than 6,000 families and 13,000 children to access food.
With 24 community food hubs now operating in Camden – placing every resident within less than half a mile of one, the Covid Community Campaign is a way to help each food hub to keep up with demand this winter as a long-term solution is sought.
Hear from other partners of the Covid Community Campaign
Alex Cunningham, Magic Breakfast CEO, said: “At a time when hunger is a reality faced by so many, the need to support vulnerable children has never been greater. We have seen first-hand the devastating effects of the pandemic, with families suffering from reduced income, job losses, isolation and mental health struggles, contributing to it becoming harder to put food on the table at home.
“We know that there are over two million children living in UK households that experienced food insecurity this year; that’s a heart-breaking number of children who have gone hungry, skipped meals, or compromised on the quantity of food they eat.
“Magic Breakfast is reaching thousands of vulnerable UK children with a healthy, free breakfast each school morning so they can start the day with the fuel they need to learn, but we’ve seen a massive increase in children needing this provision, and there are thousands more children who need support.
“Giving a little to the Covid Community Campaign can make a big difference to a lot of children at risk of hunger. Together we can help fight hunger this winter.”
Lindsay Boswell, CEO FareShare said; “Following an extraordinarily difficult year for the vulnerable communities that FareShare are already supplying over two million meals per week to, we are now facing into an even tougher winter. The economic impacts of Covid are biting the most vulnerable communities very hard, on top of the terrible health impacts wrought by the virus. FareShare and its incredible volunteers have maintained a full operation throughout the year, to serve the charitable communities and their clients who need our help, and continue to do so this winter. This campaign helps to continue to shine a light on the issues faced for many children and their families this winter and raise vital funds to help us support as many people as we can.”
Founder of Social Bite, Josh Littlejohn MBE, said: “Social Bite are pleased to be able to support the Covid Community Campaign. We’re determined to make sure people don’t go hungry this winter and want a long-term solution to hunger and homelessness. I am thrilled to be working with Dame Louise Casey again on this campaign that is going to make a massive difference in helping people get through this Christmas at the end of this difficult year'
Emma Revie, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “Food banks in the Trussell Trust network are seeing first-hand the Covid economic crisis devastate families and households across London and the UK, with people unable to afford not just food but shelter, heating, lighting, toiletries or winter clothes.
“This pandemic has brought out the best in us as a nation. Volunteers at food banks have record numbers supported by generous public donations. Across the UK people have raised their voice in horror at the thought of children unable to access food during school holidays and sent a clear message – in modern Britain no one should go hungry, whatever the circumstances.
“Coronavirus has shed an unforgiving light on the deep structural issues that drive people into hunger, poverty and destitution. We in the food bank network will always do our part to support people in crisis, but it is our government that we must rely upon to build a social security system that we can all rely upon to get us through this with dignity, and build a hunger free future.”
Amanda Mackenzie OBE, Chief Executive of Business in the Community, said: “Through BITC’s National Business Response Network, this year we have been helping companies to get food to thousands of community organisations. We can’t let the pandemic return us to a Dickensian Christmas so we are asking business to do all you can to support the Covid Community Campaign and banish hunger in London.”
No child should go hungry, no parent should go hungry to feed their child, and no one should be left struggling and without anywhere to turn.
This winter we are facing an unprecedented poverty crisis in this country, with over 14 million people living in poverty and 8.4 million people at risk of going hungry each week. We are seeing inspiring action to help tackle this including the work of Marcus Rashford and hundreds of voluntary and community organisations who are fighting hunger on a daily basis. The Government has pledged financial support to this cause – but given the scale of the challenge, there is still a gap that needs to be bridged. That means we need to step in now, while also working to find a long-term solution.
In the worst year many people have had to face, full of loss, grief and uncertainty, we’ve also seen overwhelming compassion and kindness. We want to build on this community spirit and join together to make sure everyone has what they need as we face the cold winter months, and beyond. And we want to work with the Government to design a long-term solution to ensure no one goes hungry now, or in the future.
That’s why we’re asking people to join the Covid Community Campaign, dig deep and give what they can to help others this winter. Giving a little can make a big difference.
The Covid Community Campaign – fighting hunger this winter, ending hunger forever.
Dame Louise Casey
The Mayor of London
Business in the Community
The Trussell Trust