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Launch of the Lewisham Food Justice Alliance

Last month, our Food Justice work stepped up a gear with the launch of the new Lewisham Food Justice Alliance. In this guest blog, Simone Riddle, Food Justice Programme Manager at our project partner Lewisham Local, explains why this matters and how you can get involved.

Lewisham Public Health and Lewisham Local recently invited partners to attend the launch event for the new Lewisham Food Justice Alliance which will help to support the delivery of Lewisham’s Food Justice Action Plan .

Picture of a busy, bustling market in Lewisham. A market stall selling

Attendees heard an update of progress made over the last six months since the Action Plan was published. Progress on actions and areas of focus identified in the plan include: 

  • A new Food Justice Programme Manager is now in post to support and oversee this work
  • Lewisham Local has launched funding for groups to provide Warm Welcomes over the coming winter which has an increased focus on healthy food provision as part of this winter’s offer. Funding has been combined from Lewisham Council, ICB and the Mental Health Alliance to support this project 
  • A Council Scrutiny Task and Finish Group met to look at opportunities to increase Community Food Growing. A number of recommendations have been made, and work is now starting to respond to these recommendations
  • Citizens Advice Lewisham are now offering 4 face-to-face advice drop-in sessions across the borough 
  • A new Emergency Infant Formula Pathway has been introduced to improve access to infant formula for families in crisis through the health visiting teams
  • Introduction of Free School Meals for all primary school children for the current academic year thanks to funding from the Mayor of London and from Lewisham Council
  • Hexagon Housing worked with The Felix Project, Evelyn Community Store and Lewisham Local to secure an additional six tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetable for community food projects to support holiday hunger over the summer holidays
  • Work was untaken to promote unused pension credit as a form of income maximisation, which has resulted in an additional £1.6 Million now coming into the borough for Lewisham residents

Attendees at the launch event included Housing Associations, Community growing and giving projects, NHS and Council staff, Goldsmiths University, and voluntary sector partners who shared how they can support and lead on actions identified during the plan. Some of these include:

  • Adult Education Lewisham can offer a 5 week course on ‘cooking on a budget and low-energy appliance cooking’ for people who are accessing food aid in Lewisham
  • Coco Collective Ital Gardens can offer food growing workshops
  • Christians Against Poverty can offer money management courses
  • The Lewisham Exchange offers a platform for community groups to access support and request help
  • Hexagon Housing can offer money advice in the community
  • Phoenix Housing can offer financial advice services for their residents and possible use of space
  • The London Nutritionist can offer evidence -based nutrition advice for community food projects

Trin Gong, from Southwark Food Action Alliance, also spoke to share the benefits of forming a Food Justice Alliance and learning and reflections from Southwark.
The Food Justice Alliance will lead the collaborative action that will be required to achieve the vision of the Food Justice Action Plan. It will provide a forum for partners to discuss key tasks, identify opportunities for collaboration, avoid duplication and share knowledge and experience to help overcome challenges.

Next steps include:

  • Formalising the Food Justice Alliance as the structure that supports the delivery of the Food Justice Action Plan
  • The Alliance will become a partner of Feeding Britain –a national charity and network organisation, working with regional and local partners like ours in 87 areas of the UK with the aim to end the need for food banks through campaigns, providing evidence and pushing for policy change at government level
  • Identifying strategic leads to join the Steering Group to provide oversight and accountability
  • Translate the Food Justice Action Plan into a Food Justice Delivery Plan with a lead for each task and resource requirements identified
  • Develop metrics to evidence and evaluate the impact of the different elements of the action plan
  • Supporting the delivery of the Warm Welcomes Programme to ensure residents can access a nutritious food offer through the winter months
  • Continuing to work closely with Good Food Lewisham, supporting the Food Giving Network, and Lewisham’s Cost-of-Living Response

If you are interested in joining the Lewisham Food Justice Alliance, please email to request being added to the mailing list for future updates: foodjusticeactionplan@lewisham.gov.uk

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