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Posted on 4th April 2022

The B&NES Food Equity Action Plan

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This blog comes from our partners in Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) – it shares their experience of refreshing their Food Equality Action Plan.

Context

The B&NES Fair Food Alliance formed in March 2020 and has provided a strong local mechanism for co-ordination and setting the strategic direction of food insecurity work over the last 2 years.

We have benefited from our strategic partnerships with St Johns, Feeding Britain and Fare Share SW which have enabled us to learn from best practice around the country, influence policy and strategy both locally and nationally, attract additional resources and thereby more effectively meet local needs.

Our ambitions have been articulated through a local action plan and brought to life through active and committed task groups including our Affordable Food Network and Income Maximisation Group. Hear My Voice is a key principle and ambition of the alliance – to ensure actions identified and local solutions are informed by those people living with food insecurity. Alliance members have been key to ensuring those they work with have a voice in the partnership through insightful case studies and learning from local experience. Partnership working with University of Bath has enabled local research with community members to inform the refresh of our Food Equity Action Plan 2022 – 2025

A timeline and process for consultation on the Food Equity Action Plan was agreed with our lead Councillor for Public Health and the Fair Food Alliance in November 2021.

The process so far

Dec 21

  • Bath Uni Research with stakeholders and local residents underway
  • Discussions and consultation with the Affordable Food Network

Jan 22 

  • Discussion and consultation with the Income Maximisation Group
  • Presentation of emerging themes and priorities at the Fair Food Alliance meeting

Feb / Mar 22

  • Consultation Workshop for stakeholders held
  • Feedback from schools involved with piloting our Poverty Proofing the School Day  Audit Tool and resources
  • Discussion with PH colleagues involved in early intervention for children and adults

Findings and recommendations

The key broad themes we’ll be incorporating into the 2022-25 plan

  • Meaningful involvement of people with experience of food insecurity. 
  • Increasing take-up of means-tested benefits and access to financial advice and guidance  
  • Closer coordination of wrap-around support connected to community-based food provision, including the HAF programme and development of community hubs. This includes a shift form sign-posting to active referral, particularly for complex needs
  • A focus on structural and strategic solutions to income inequality through access to good employment, digital inclusion living wage, social value policies and the potential of anchor institutions.  
  • Increasing knowledge and confidence to assess, refer and support around food, nutrition and financial needs across all front-line services
  • Building links with wider work around sustainable food
  • Challenging and reducing the stigma associated with food insecurity and help-seeking
  • Increase focus on older people and young people aged 18-25 living away from home
  • Creating sustainable funding models for our Affordable Food Network
  • Positioning food insecurity well strategically within the context of wider healthy weight, physical activity, and food work

Next steps and implementation

April 22

  • Two presentations with Bath Uni to share their research findings and adopt a World Café approach to gathering feedback on the themes outlined and how to embed lived experience into the heart if the work. 
  • Final Plan presented to Fair Food Alliance

May – July 22

  • Presenting the plan and a paper to the Children and Adults Wellbeing Policy Development & Scrutiny Panel 
  • Plan presented to Full Council

Overall, we are moving from the coordination of emergency and crisis intervention that has dominated the last 2 years,  to a longer-term, broader view, more sustainable and strategic embedded approach to prevention and minimisation of household food insecurity in B&NES.