Hartcliffe and Withywood in BS13 are recognised as ‘food deserts’, where 1 in 8 households experience food poverty, it is a place in which it is difficult for people on low incomes or without access to transport to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food because large numbers of households live more than one mile from a supermarket and there are only a handful of expensive convenience stores that sell high sugar, salt and saturated fat products but very few fresh foods.
Our Covid-19 food response service, where we cooked and distributed over 40,000 free meals in an 18-month period to households in BS13, has given us a clear insight into the reasons why people struggle to access healthy and delicious food locally.
Slow Cooker Project
Our pilot Slow Cooker Project launched in January 2022 to support BS13 households eat well during the winter months when budgets are tight and family fuel bills peak .
We worked with 10 families who be experimented with new recipes and seasonal ingredients, and using slow cookers to save on energy bills.
Heart of BS13 Mobile Shop
In March 2022 we’ll be launching the Heart of BS13 mobile shop. Last year 2021 we raised over 10k to develop a shop on wheels, that will sell a combination of ready-made, high quality meals from our Heart of BS13 kitchen plus fresh fruit, veg and other staples like bread, milk, dairy, eggs and meat.
We’ll be stocking and selling good quality, healthy food and locally grown produce to people in BS13, whatever their income.
Our riders will be delivering on regular rounds to streets in Hartcliffe and Withywood – similar to the butcher or fruit and veg vans that used to make weekly visits to neighbourhoods.
Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme
As we head further into Spring, we know that the Easter holidays followed by Summer holidays prove to be a tough time for families – and so we will continue to provide free meals through our food service whilst working in partnership again with Bristol City Council and Feeding Bristol to cook up to 2000 meals for children who’s nutritional intake and quantity of food is significantly compromised during the school holidays.
In November 2020 the Government announced that the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme would be made available to all children in England on Free School Meals during the school holidays from Easter 2021.
The effective roll-out of this policy is now crucial to ensure all disadvantaged children receive a healthy meal during the holidays, as well as enriching activities that benefit their learning and wellbeing.
The economic and social impacts of the pandemic continue to be felt by families and children until well beyond 2021 – and we are in a strong position to support them in 2022.