Liverpool firms urged to help end food poverty

Both the Bishop and Archbishop of Liverpool have issued a plea to Liverpool businesses to help tackle the ‘burning injustice’ of food poverty. Tony McDonough reports

Bishop of Liverpool
Bishop of Liverpool Paul Bayes

Both the Bishop and Archbishop of Liverpool are urging businesses across the city to support a new strategy to tackle the “burning injustice” of food poverty.

Archbishop of Liverpool Malcolm McMahon and Bishop of Liverpool Paul Bayes have each released a video pledge outlining how they will support the Good Food Plan, ahead of a pledge evening in the Metropolitan Cathedral, from 7pm-8.30pm on Wednesday, November 10.

The event is open to everyone from across the life of the city including businesses, community and charity leaders, residents of all ages, employers, workers, volunteers, and anyone interested in learning how to join the #goodfoodliverpool movement.

It is hoped the Bishop and Archbishop’s words will pave the way for others to follow suit, with opportunities to make individual, workplace, community or organisational pledges both on the night and afterwards. They aim to create a city where “everyone can eat good food”.

Pledge examples include promising to signpost people to where they can access good food, commit to paying all employees a real living wage, start up a new sustainable food business or project, take part in food insecurity screening, volunteer, share resources, or simply start conversations in your community.

In his video Bishop Paul, already a vocal champion of the Real Living Wage and the Right to Food campaign, said: “As Christians, we believe food is a gift given from God to all human beings, not just to some.

“That one in every three adults in Liverpool are food insecure – worrying about where they will get enough food to feed their families, skipping meals and at times going hungry – is a burning injustice. We cannot stand by and let this happen.

“As a diocese – with a church on the door step of every community – and as an employer, we have a part to play. We will continue to speak out against the root causes of poverty which prevent everyone being able to access good food.”

Urging people to join the #goodfoodliverpool movement, he adds: “Friends, when we stand alone this task of tackling injustice may seem too large, but each of us have gifts and talents to bring; when we work together we can bring about real change.”

Archbishop of Liverpool
Archbishop of Liverpool Malcolm McMahon

Liverpool is home to three of England’s 10 most economically deprived food districts. Around 32% of adults in in the city are food insecure and just 12% of children aged 11 to 18 eat their five-a-day fruit and veg.

The push is been co-ordinated by charitable food alliance Feeding Liverpool with backing from Liverpool City Council and a dozen other partners in the city’s Food Insecurity Task Force including the University of Liverpool, Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services (LCVS), St Andrew’s Community Network, Torus Housing and FareShare.

Working with a growing number of stakeholders across the city, the Good Food Plan will also focus on improving access to good food, enabling active citizenship, influencing policy, reducing food waste and environmental impact and establishing sustainable food systems.

In his video pledge Archbishop Malcolm describes it as a ‘tragedy’ that such an initiative is needed, and pledges a £5,000 donation from the Archdiocese’s charitable funds to support the work of Feeding Liverpool and the Good Food Plan.

“Many of our Catholic parishes and agencies already support food banks, food pantries and other local actions to relieve and prevent food insecurity and many of our Catholic schools regularly provide good food to children who would otherwise be hungry and ensure that all our children learn how to grow and cook healthy food,” he said.

Click here to find out more about the Good Food Plan and click here to register to take part in the event.

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