Mother and young child making sushi at class at Brasshouse Community Centre, Smethwick

Social pantry and sushi classes help support the community in Smethwick this Easter  

To tackle the rising problem of food poverty in the UK, Action Against Hunger UK partnered with the globally renowned restaurant chain YO! Sushi to host cooking classes at Brasshouse Community Centre in Smethwick.

As the global pandemic continues and inflation rates rise rapidly, hunger is growing. The demand for local organisations to support vulnerable families in the UK through food projects such as community kitchens, food pantries and social supermarkets is increasing relentlessly. The Covid-19 pandemic propelled the UK into an unprecedented crisis. Measures taken to stop the spread of the virus causing levels of food poverty to rise.

To tackle this problem, the international charity Action Against Hunger UK partnered with the globally renowned restaurant chain YO! Sushi to host cooking classes at Brasshouse Community Centre in Smethwick. Chefs from YO! Sushi taught 80 children and their families how to make sushi from scratch. The free class took place during the Easter holidays – a time when many children in this community do not have as much access to vital food support from their schools as they would in term time.

In addition, in 2020 Action Against Hunger partnered with the Brasshouse Community Centre in Smethwick during the pandemic to help increase access to healthy nutritious food for vulnerable households. Brasshouse community centre opened a social supermarket on-site, where members pay £5 and can pick for themselves fresh fruit and vegetables to make a week’s worth of nutritious meals for their family worth £30.

Social supermarkets as a more dignified solution to food banks is not a new concept. However, with reports that 14 per cent of UK adults living with children had struggled to provide food for their family in 2020, it is becoming increasingly important to meet the demands for these types of services.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen a huge increase in the need for schemes like the social supermarket here in Smethwick. Running free sessions to support families across the UK is vital to our mission at Action Against Hunger. It’s just incredible to see so many people come together to learn about food and nutrition – and, most importantly, have fun!! We can’t thank our incredible partners YO! Sushi and the Brasshouse Community Centre enough for making this happen,”

said Hannah Sanders, Head of Partnerships at Action Against Hunger UK.

“If somebody is hungry, it means there are other things happening in their home. People, through absolutely no fault of their own, come here to get support. You have to imagine what it takes for somebody sitting at home hungry to get to the point to then have to go to somebody in their local community and ask for help – it is huge. By the time that person walks through the door, there cannot be any barriers to what they access because they’ve already put themselves through turmoil. It is not easy to ask for help.,”

said Jenn Harrison BEM, Chief Executive of North Smethwick Development Trust and Brasshouse Community Centre.

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