Volunteer at a community store run by Evelyn Community Store and Action Against Hunger partner Lewisham Homes

United Kingdom

We’ve supported our local partners to expand their programmes to tackle growing food poverty in areas with some of the highest rates of child poverty.

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic propelled the UK into an unprecedented crisis. Measures taken to stop the spread of the virus deepened an existing crisis and levels of food poverty started rising.

As hunger surged, the demand for local organisations to support vulnerable families in the UK through food projects such as community kitchens, food pantries and social supermarkets also increased.

Why is Action Against Hunger – an international humanitarian agency – supporting food projects in the UK?

Our vision is of a world free from hunger – a world in which all children and adults can access enough healthy and nutritious food with dignity.

To respond to urgent needs in the UK, we’ve supported local partners to maintain, scale up and set up community facilities in London, the West Midlands and Manchester.

These food services respond to local needs and ensure the most vulnerable families in some of the poorest regions can access a healthy and affordable diet with choice and dignity.

Facts and figures

  • 2,500

    With support from Barclay's, in 2021 we're aiming to help more than 2,500 people through food pantries in London, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.

  • 4%

    4% of UK adults living with children reported having gone for a whole day without eating in 2020.

  • 14%

    14% of UK adults living with children said they had struggled to provide food for their family in 2020.

What’s unique about the projects we’re supporting

For many people in the UK struggling to make ends meet and feed their families, having to resort to food bank carries a great deal of stigma.

Food banks only meet short term, emergency needs and often offer very little choice to service users. Meanwhile, accessing or purchasing even the most basic healthy food is beyond their budget.

This is part of a much wider global issue – in a world that produces enough food to feed its entire population, over 3 billion people can’t even afford the cheapest healthy diet.

Why not food banks?

Food pantries and social supermarkets offer a dignified and sustainable alternative to food banks.

Evelyn Community Store, run by our partner Lewisham Homes, offers low cost, healthy groceries delivered to people’s doorsteps.

Members living in the local area pay a weekly fee of £3.50 for a food package that would normally cost £30.

“Food stores are sustainable and enable residents on a low income to access low cost food including fresh produce. They encourage communities to come together and be part of something,” says Alys Exley-Smith, Community Relations Manager at Lewisham Homes.

“We need to ensure no one is too proud to ask for help when they need it. We’ve found that a community store is something people want to be part of.”

Evelyn Community Store, run by our partner Lewisham Homes

 A community food store run by our partners Lewisham Homes.

Community kitchens – such as those run by Cracking Good Food in Manchester and Brasshouse Community Centre in Smethwick – provide hot, nutritious meals to people with limited ability to cook because of physical and mental health problems or financial trouble. These centres also act as hubs where people can access services such as debt and employment advice.

“Cracking Good Food are passionate about increasing access to good food across all communities,” says Gemma Foxcroft, Co-Director and Project Manager at Cracking Good Food. “In response to the pandemic, we had to change our approach from cooking with people to cooking for them.”

Meet our partners

Brasshouse

Staff members at Brasshouse Community Centre, Smethwick, West Midlands.

Based in Smethwick in the West Midlands, Brasshouse promotes social enterprise, social inclusion and real community action for local people.

Cracking Good Food

A volunteer cooks a meal at Cracking Good Food in Manchester.

Based in Manchester, Cracking Good Food aim to solve the problem of hunger amongst people experiencing poverty, isolation and physical and mental illnesses.

Lewisham Homes

Food provided at a community food store run by Lewisham Homes.

Based in South East London, Lewisham Homes is a not-for-profit organisation that improves housing in the local area and finds new ways to invest in the community.

Where we workA woman walking through a field at an Action Against Hunger project in Mali.

Where we work

We fight hunger and malnutrition in 46 countries around the world.

Learn more about our programmes
Why hunger?30-year-old Abdul received crop training from Action Against Hunger.

Why hunger?

Poor diets and malnutrition aren’t a matter of personal choices – the world’s poorest people simply can’t access or afford to eat a healthy diet.

Together we can change this