In response to the recent lockdown, The Peterborough Food Partnership (PFP) has joined the Food Power network in their battle to tackle food scarcity nationally through people-powered change.
The current pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have left more and more people experiencing food poverty in the UK and to address these growing needs, Peterborough Council for Voluntary services (PCVS), with the help of National Lottery funding, set up the PFP in April last year. They are now a member of Food power a programme run by Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming who works with local communities across the UK to strengthen their ability to reduce food shortages and tackle its root causes.
PFP was originally the Food Poverty Forum, which was a regular meeting held by PCVS in order to look at the issues surrounding food scarcity in the city. As the Coronavirus pandemic hit, it quickly became apparent that numerous communities were beginning to feel pressure as the number of organisations that were seeking funding for food began to rise suddenly.
What was evident at the time was the fantastic continued and new work happening within the city around food distribution, and this was the perfect time for PFP to unite organisations to enable them to work together, avoiding duplication of effort, share information and resources and reduce costs. Numerous organisations became agents for referral for others instead of setting up individually, creating new working relationships and efficient ways of working collaboratively. For example, where an organisation was struggling to operate or had supply issues or a massive increase in demand, the partnership could potentially help them with the supply of food, offer advice and share information.
Lauren Kendrick, Communities Development Coordinator at PCVS, celebrates all that PFP has achieved and reflects on how far it has come, “The initial meeting was set up as a network, aiming to get food to those who were desperately in need as well as focus on the sustainable environmental aspect of food redistribution to ensure minimal food is wasted.
A real sense of desire to work together was felt by all those involved, whether their organisation had always worked in food distribution or had set up quickly to fulfill a need. We brought together those working in hot food distribution like the City College, to those who had worked on the ground for a long time like Food4Nought and the Peterborough Foodbank.
The forum enabled space for organisations to discuss the issues, gaps and needs of the city and consider how to best address them. The importance of having the space to discuss food related issues in the crisis was seen as benefit as well as a great potential to work closer together going forward. We went into a period of consultation between the organisations of how a partnership could be created, utilising the existing set ups and infrastructure across the city in a coordinated approach.
Nine months later, we are now part of Food Power, which means we are recognised nationally as the alliance in Peterborough, another win for PFP!”
In the run up to Christmas, PFP held a number of open meetings regarding food provision around Christmas and Christmas day. This enabled partnership between new organisations who were able to fill the gaps arising from the pandemic in a coordinated and safe response, helping feed those in need during this momentous time.
This year PFP continues to hold open food meetings for all volunteers, organisations, businesses, education, religious and authority representatives to serve the needs of the city and currently exists of 13 local organisations. The partnership benefits from the strength of working together as well as continuing to operate its own charitable purpose whether that be environmental, saving on food waste or welfare based – supporting those in need. The group not only addresses the immediate need but the potential problems in the near future. If you are interested in finding out more about PFP or interested in the support that PCVS provides, please email [email protected] .