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As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, Feeding Britain is supporting partners across the UK to develop sustainable and dignified approaches to protect people from hunger. From affordable food networks to advice services, from fuel banks to school holiday programmes, your donation will make a real difference to communities across the UK.

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Cheshire West and Chester

“The Welcome Network aims to create spaces for neighbours and agencies to come together, build relationships, and reduce stigma by providing an accessible and welcoming environment to access food, activities and support.”

The mission

The Welcome Network aims to create spaces for neighbours and agencies to come together, build relationships, and reduce stigma by providing an accessible and welcoming environment to access food, activities and support.

How we work

The Welcome Network is a partnership between Healthbox CIC, West Cheshire Foodbank, and Citizen’s Advice Cheshire West. Activities are overseen by a steering group of representatives from key partnership organisations including Chester Voluntary Action, West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission, and the Local Authority.

What we’ve achieved

Key activities implemented by the Welcome Network include:

  • Holiday food provision
  • Healthy eating and budgeting sessions
  • Food provision mapping
  • Support for community food aid projects (coordination, best practices, and funding)

What’s next

Over the coming years the Welcome Network will continue to scale up holiday provision and community engagement programs, with 3 additional projects set to launch in 2018:

Meeting Places and Food Hub- With funding from the Big Lottery the Welcome Network are transforming 5 existing food banks in to more sustainable community led food hubs called “Meeting Places”. One of the five locations will be a larger food hub that includes a co-operative food pantry which will provide healthy food at low cost to everyone, but with a particular focus on supporting individuals who are longer reliant on food banks but still require some ongoing support.

Holiday club training and Toolkit- Training workshops for anyone involved in holiday club provision across Cheshire West and Chester will be held in partnership with kitchen Social. A toolkit which will provide all information needed to create a strong foundation for a holiday club is also being developed.

Data collection- Working alongside the Foodbank and colleagues from the University of Chester a data collection strategy is being developed to better capture the work being done across Cheshire West and to identify the underlying causes.

Related materials & resources

Cheshire West and Chester Holiday food and fun club provision case study

For more information on the pilot and ways to get involved please contact Stephanie Ellis at stephanie@welcomenet.co.uk

Levels of local food insecurity

According to the University of Sheffield’s research into local food insecurity of adults (Jan 2021), in Cheshire West and Chester:

  • 2.95% of adults suffered from hunger
  • 7.39% struggled to access food
  • 9.02% worried about not having enough food

About this research:

The University of Sheffield have published statistics of UK adult food insecurity at Local Authority scale. You can view the map of measures of food insecurity here.

Hungry is defined as having skipped food for a whole day or more in the previous month or indicated they were hungry but not eaten because they could not afford or get access to food.

Struggle is defined as a positive response to at least one of the following:

  • Sought help accessing food
  • Skipped or shrank meal
  • Gave a reason for not having enough food

Worry is defined as choosing very worried or fairly worried about getting food.