Tackling Food Poverty

Food poverty is a complex, multi-faceted issue that affects thousands of people in Greenwich, and causes misery and hardships for those affected.

We define food poverty as the inability for individuals to afford, or to have access to foods which make up a healthy diet in ways that are socially acceptable to them. This could include

  • Having limited money for food after paying for other household expenses;
  • Living in areas where food choice is restricted by local availability and lack of transport
  • Lacking knowledge, skills, cooking equipment or space necessary to prepare healthy meals.

Food poverty is not just about hunger – it is about difficult choices that can lead to long term unhealthier food choices.  We also know that those experiencing food poverty are more likely to suffer from diet related diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. For most people, the main cause of food poverty is low income in relation to their household costs– not inability to manage money or food however for some people food skills and a lack of access to shops or equipment play a part.

No one organisation can solve these problems; a multi-faceted and multi-agency approach is crucial in tackling food poverty.  The Food Poverty Sub-Group is responsible for the delivery of work in the areas of the Good FIG Action Plan related to tackling the causes and consequences of food poverty. It is tasked with engaging local partners and agencies to support the delivery of this area of the action plan.

Greenwich Public Health has worked extensively in this area and written a Food Poverty Needs Assessment detailing the experiences of those in poverty, and the issues facing them such as access to affordable, healthy food and the proliferation of fast food and convenience stores in areas of highest deprivation.  Whilst this work highlights the challenges and issues, we are also working on an action plan to tackle these which you can read here.

But we’re always looking for more individuals and organisations to get involved.  If you would like to be a part of this important and crucial work to find ways to alleviate food poverty, or you know of work that’s happening which is not represented yet, then please get in touch with mel@gcda.org.uk.


How to get involved?

  • Demand a fair wage! If more businesses paid the London Living Wage, this would go a long way to lifting people out of poverty. Put pressure on supermarkets and other big businesses to pay a fair wage.  38 Degrees have lots of petitions you can sign so get campaigning!

    Good Food in Greenwich seeing the phenomenal Fareshare warehouse
  • Join Fareshare! Fareshare distributes surplus food to charities, and Woolwich Common Common Community Centre is now a Fareshare hub where other charities can pick up from.  If you know of or work for a charity that cooks meals, or distributes food parcels, then get in touch with them through their website to find out how you can join the scheme
  • Support the Food BanksGreenwich Food Banks operate 8 food banks across the borough and you can donate to these from many locations including:
    • Tesco, Woolwich Extra, Grand Depot Rd, SE18 6HQ
    • Woolwich Centre – Reception area, 35 Wellington Street, SE18 6HQ
    • Eltham Centre – near Customer Services, 2 Archery Road, SE9 1HA
    • Charlton House – Entrance area, Charlton Road, SE7 8RE
    • Greenwich Community College – Reception area, 95 Plumstead Road, SE18 7DQ
    • Sainsburys, Eltham Branch, 1A Philipot Path, SE9 5DL
    • Waitrose, Greenwich Branch, New Capital Quay, SE10 9DD

Please have a look at their shopping list first.  If you need to access the food banks, please see your health visitor, GP, job centre or Citizen’s Advice Bureau for a referral

  •  Join the Sub-Group!  We are always looking for more people to get involved, so please get in touch with mel@gcda.org.uk for more information.  We just ask that you agree to the terms of reference and commit to coming to quarterly meetings

Terms of References

Food Poverty Sub group ToR

Action Plans

Food poverty action plan