‘Many are living on the breadline’- Food Justice conference to tackle regional poverty

East of England Co-op is hosting a Food Justice Conference to try and tackle food poverty in the reg

East of England Co-op is hosting a Food Justice Conference to try and tackle food poverty in the region. - Credit: Archant

The East of England Co-op is turning the spotlight on the plight of regional food poverty through its free Food Justice Conference held in association with Archant.

The church hall at St Peter’s Church, Brandon, has become a makeshift food bank during the coronavir

The church hall at St Peter’s Church, Brandon, has become a makeshift food bank during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: St Peter's Church - Credit: Archant

The community retailer is urging charities and local authorities across the region to take part in the event held on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

Topics up for discussion will be the ways in which communities have “risen to the challenge” of providing access to food during the pandemic, and how we can all work together to support hungry families in the long-term.

East of England Co-op joint chief executive Niall O’Keeffe said: “We are very aware that the last few months have caused extreme hardship in our region for many individuals and families, who have found themselves living on the breadline and with no other option than to call for help to put food on their table.

“We have been very moved by the dedication of local foodbanks and other organisations, who have been working around the clock to providing support to their communities in their hour of need and who will face immense uncertainty in the months ahead.

The East of England Co-op is holding a regional food justice conference next week which is free to a

The East of England Co-op is holding a regional food justice conference next week which is free to attend. Picture: Ruth Lawes - Credit: Archant


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“I urge anyone representing a charity, community group or local authority in this region to take part in our free Food Justice Conference.

“If we all pull together, we can achieve much more and it’s crucial that we act now to ensure that everyone in our communities can fulfil the basic human need to eat well.”

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Since the beginning of the outbreak, the East of England Co-op has donated over £82,000 to local foodbanks.

Other initiatives have included a six-week summer ‘holiday hunger’ foodbank drive, which encouraged shoppers at its stores in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex to donate five tonnes of foodbank items to support families over the school holidays.

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Manchester United's Marcus Rashford campaign to end child povety has won the backing of East of England Co-op - Credit: PA

It is also part of Marcus Rashfod’s Child Food Poverty Taskforce. The campaign successfully called for extra government funding to expand free school meals to every child from a household on Universal Credit, reaching an additional 1.5m children aged 7-16. It also called for an increase in the value of Healthy Start vouchers from £3.25 to £4.25 a week, which helps pregnant women and parents with children under four to buy basic foods.

To register for the East of England Food Justice Conference and for the full programme, visit www.eastofengland.coop/community/foodpoverty/food-justice-conference

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