World-renowned experts and young people to shape food poverty strategy

(Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

World-renowned experts will work with Newham families and young people to help shape a food security strategy for the borough. - Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

An expert-led initiative has been launched to address the food poverty facing children and young people in the borough. 

With input from world-renowned experts and £20,000 initial funding from the Health Foundation, the “Young People and Food Security” initiative will work with children, teenagers and their families to map the scale of challenges facing Newham households.

The work will shape a programme of interventions to tackle holiday hunger as part of a wider food security strategy, which will be launched in the summer. 

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz is encourging residents to become Covid-19 Health Champions.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said the pandemic has revealed the 'stark reality' of food poverty in the borough. - Credit: Andrew Baker

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said: “Through this crisis, we’ve already spent over £6million supporting families with food and other essential household items. 

“This includes stamping out the scourge of hunger with over 27,037 children and young people supported through our Newham Food Alliance and holiday food voucher programmes. 

“Covid-19 has revealed the stark reality and scale of food poverty in Newham and we have a moral duty to address this.” 

Association for Young People’s Health experts will work alongside health inequality specialist Professor Natalie Savona from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Dr Steven Allender, who is professor of public health and founding director of the Global Obesity Centre at Deakin University, Melbourne. 

Their work will inform policy proposals and interventions being developed by a working group of cabinet members, councillors and town hall officers. 

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The working group was established by Ms Fiaz last year to develop an action plan to support families at risk of, or facing, food insecurity. 

Ms Fiaz said: “We’ve already made clear that our economic success as a borough will be measured by the health, wellbeing and happiness of our residents, and the Young People and Food Security initiative is an important contribution to that effort because our youngsters deserve it.” 

The initiative follows Mayor Fiaz’s guarantee that the Eat for Free scheme, which the council spends £6million a year on, will remain for all primary school children regardless of their backgrounds, after proposals to make cuts to the programme because of budget challenges sparked outcry