In response to the growing demand for emergency food aid in Portsmouth, as a result of a rise in food poverty, Food Portsmouth and Portsmouth City Council's Lead for Tackling Poverty have teamed up to host quarterly Portsmouth Food Bank Networking meetings.
These meetings, hosted at different food aid venues every quarter, bring together those coordinating or volunteering at local food banks, soup kitchens and community meals. The meetings offer an opportunity for projects to share learning, best practice, identify any new issues or trends, and to offer up any surplus stock they may have accumulated.
The rotation of venues also allows each project to better understand where other local food aid projects are hosted from - resulting in better understanding to pass on to their clients. It is important that clients are given correct information about when and where they can access emergency food support.
Portsmouth has a variety of food aid projects; from a Trussell Trust food bank, to locally run food banks, a soup kitchen that moves about the city, lunch clubs, and community meals. Each projects offers food to those in need at a time of crisis. Most of the food banks require a referral, although most meals are open to anyone who would benefit from a communal hot meat. The Network has now begun to capture just how many food parcels, plates of food, and takeaway meals are handed out during a 3-month period. This data will support ongoing funding applications, and highlight the need for a call to action from policymakers to address the underlying issues that surround the complex issue of food poverty.
To find out when and where the food aid providers operate, see the Portsmouth Food Aid Providers Resource Sheet, compiled by the Network.