Leeds Food Aid Network (FAN) has been developing over the past year, as many different food aid providers and agency workers work to tackle food poverty in our city. FareShare Yorkshire and Leeds South and East Foodbank moved into a warehouse in Beeston. This is providing a vital base from which food can be distributed to different locations across the city and then given out to vulnerable people.
Workers from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are set to start giving advice at South and East Foodbank outlets. This will help people to deal with benefit issues and in accessing Universal Credit, which is causing major challenges for people across Leeds.
Food supply continues to be an issue, with food often flowing excessively to many food aid providers in the autumn (Harvest) and winter (Christmas) and diminishing in spring and summer, when demand stays high but food donations often decrease. The network will be seeking to mobilise the Christian community and wider city to donate food in the spring and summer months of 2019.
A major development has seen Leeds North and West Foodbank and Leeds South and East Foodbank doing regular food collections at Leeds United’s Elland Road.
During 2017/18 foodbank use in Leeds increased by 4%, from 26,831 in 2016/17 to 27,902. There is with increasing pressure being placed on the two large Trussell Trust (TT) Foodbanks. In 2014 TT took on 45% of referrals, this increased in 2017/18 to 67%. During 2017/18 the number of meals given out by drop ins and street outreaches was 81,024.
Leeds FAN is chaired by Unity in Poverty Action (UPA) who also chair the West Yorkshire Food Poverty Network, which brings together different networks in Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield. An exciting development is that West Yorkshire Network is now part of Feeding Britain, an initiative started by MP Frank Field following the All Parliamentary Report into Food Poverty.
Give thanks for all the different people, church congregations and organisations who are working to tackle food poverty in Leeds.
Pray for the new Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd. Pray that the many concerns people have regarding Universal Credit will be listened to and acted on.
Please pray for increased collaboration between food aid providers, debt advisers and DWP workers who genuinely want to help people access the benefits they are entitled to.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 07903 123 283, Facebook – Leeds Food Aid Network, Twitter – @foodaidnetwork