Our new Empowerment Programme Officer Ben Pearson explains how the Food Power programme will tackle food poverty from the grassroots.
Food Power is a new initiative from Church Action on Poverty, in partnership with Sustain. Our aim is to support the development of more coordinated, long-term and sustainable approaches to tackling food poverty in local communities. We will tailor the approaches to different urban and rural environments, and to the increasingly divergent policy contexts across the four nations.
It is a four-year programme that will work with local communities to strengthen their ability to reduce food poverty, with the support of their peers from other communities. We will establish and support ‘food poverty alliances’ that respond to food poverty and its root causes; amplify the voices of people experiencing food poverty; and evaluate and share what works well. The programme includes four main work streams:
- Supporting local food poverty alliances: We will build capacity and facilitate sharing of experiences between communities. The programme will have local empowerment at its core. Following clear demand, we will work with a network of local peer mentors to help other local areas to establish food poverty alliances or networks, secure resources to turn commitments into reality, and develop local action plans.
- Learning and sharing good practice: At the heart of this programme is the exchange of ideas and learning, facilitated by programme staff, but equally through peer-to-peer learning across the network. All those involved in the programme will be part of co-producing information and resources. We will provide the national infrastructure and coordination to facilitate active sharing and learning, including through face-to-face visits, written and other resources and an annual conference.
- Involving experts by experience: We will support the active engagement of individuals within the programme who have experienced food poverty. We will pilot models of involvement and support local areas to develop their practice in this area through a combination of capacity-building training, mentoring and resources.
- Evidencing what works at the local level: We will also assist local areas to evidence the impact of their work, including offering advice and support on robust monitoring and evaluation methodologies and piloting specific evaluation models.
From here at Church Action on Poverty, I will be leading on involving experts by experience in local alliances across the network, as well as overseeing peer mentoring.
If you’re involved in a network tackling food poverty in your area, and you want to have a bigger impact on the root causes of food poverty, Food Power may be able to help you!