When we established in 2010 our community outreach work was about connecting people to low carbon focal food, seasonality and bringing the love of cooking, eating and the growing to communities. Since Austerity our priorities have completely changed. With the exponential surge in Food Bank usage for those predominantly IN-work, the rise of food waste due to massive overproduction of cheap processed food (approx 15 million tonnes gets wasted in the UK each year), homelessness, obesity, diabetes and holiday hunger for children … we’ve been busy. Yet we are the 5th richest country in the world. This is immoral.
Austerity however, froze or greatly reduced all Public Sector, Health & Education budgets and with the competition for funding now, seven fold what it was, bidding for work and commissions are now harder and harder, if not near impossible. Like thousands of other organisations in the same situation, it was sink or shout.
We have thrown ourselves into working with the most destitute and in need, those without a home and have found small pots of funding along the way to keep us afloat. Making a positive difference to people’s lives is what drives us. And yes our campaigning arm to help overturn this abuse, has got a lot louder too.
We have recently worked with Trafford Housing Trust, teaching beneficaries of food parcels how to cook ingredients that they might otherwise struggle with; courgettes, aubergine, squash, celeriac or tofu might stump the best of us.
Working with the Over 50s as part of the Ambition for Ageing 18 month programme has been very rewarding, not to mention our regular work in Hattersley with Onward Housing, teaching residents how to cook the contents of their food parcels. It is not just those in food poverty that can’t cook. We are delivering our most ambitious programmes to date, via Manchester Adult Education Service, (up to 5 sessions a week) working with residents in hostels who lead very chaotic lives, with heart wrenching backgrounds. Never judge someone until you’ve walked in their shoes we say.
We are also working with families from two Sure Start centres in Cheetham Hill and Old Moat soon, teaching basic good affordable cooking – there’s never been a more important time than now to be adaptable and creative with your food.
So do come and join us, by volunteering, or let us know if we can work in your community. We’re sure there’ll be a way, because everyone deserves good food. You just have to keep fighting for it.
For an insight in the work we’ve done over 10 years have a look at our annual summary: