Launch of Feeding Liverpool initiative

A pilot project of Feeding Britain

More than 80 people attended the launch of Feeding Liverpool, a group connecting individuals who are concerned about food poverty in Liverpool, on Friday 20 May at LACE, Sefton Park.

Feeding Liverpool is one of a growing network of local projects following the report of the all-party parliamentary inquiry into hunger in the UK, published in December 2014 and titled 'Feeding Britain: A strategy for zero hunger in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland'.

Feeding Liverpool is an initiative of Churches Together in the Merseyside Region. This is appropriate because faith groups are so often involved in the provision of food banks and other food programmes – but the new entity has no intention of going it alone. Instead it aims to "bring together people who are concerned about food poverty":

• First – to share good practice about emergency provision;
• Second – to campaign for change in those policies that cause or reinforce poverty;
• Third – to raise public awareness about the extent of food poverty and the damaging effects of austerity measures on welfare provision.

The group also wants to contribute to other efforts in the city to tackle food poverty such as the city council's food poverty strategy group, in which Feeding Liverpool is being asked to take a lead role in engaging with local communities and learning from people's lived experience. As many of its participants are on the front line of provision, Feeding Liverpool's key strength is to provide what Bishop Paul Bayes refers to as "a line of sight to the street and back" in order to gain an understanding of the reality of food poverty and its implications – not just for suppliers and policy makers, but for all of us who aspire to live in a society that is built around fairness and the wellbeing of all.

Feeding Liverpool is co-chaired by Bishop John Rawsthorne (retired Bishop of Hallam and former Auxiliary Bishop in Liverpool) and Professor Hilary Russell (Professor Emeritus at Liverpool John Moores University European Institute of Urban Affairs and leader of the Together For the Common Good research process).

Messages of support were displayed at the launch from Frank Field MP, co-chair of Feeding Britain, Mayor Joe Anderson and Bishop Paul Bayes (Anglican Bishop of Liverpool). Speakers included Louise Ellman MP, Stephen Twigg MP, Niall Cooper (national director of Church Action on Poverty), Councillor Jane Corbett (cabinet member for social inclusion, fairness and equalities), Kevin Peacock (CEO of St Andrews Community Network), Lynda Batterbee (area manager for the Trussell Trust), Archbishop Malcolm McMahon (Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool) and Rev Phil Jump (Free Church Moderator for Merseyside).

Photos, comments and video clips are available on Twitter @feedinglpool. A short film of the event will be posted online soon.

For more information, contact Steve Atherton (LACE, Croxteth Drive, Sefton Park, Liverpool L17 1AA); email s.atherton@rcaol.co.uk; phone 0151 522 1080.