Bristol - a more equal city

This is a scheme bringing together the creative energy of the city and its people to address the issue of inequality and poverty. The aim is to help people realise their potential, being able to live a fulfilling life, free of economic, fuel and/or food poverty, whilst making the city economically more efficient, reducing its overall environmental impact and increasing its resilience to future shocks. It will do this by bringing together the wide variety of charitable and community support already found in the city together with a coalition of public services to mutually work together to build on the current package of support mechanisms and provide a comprehensive package of locally provided support for people trapped in poverty which provides a route back to being able to provide for their own needs.

Background

This arises from the work of the Food Policy Council (FPC) this year on food poverty, alongside the publication of the report “Food Poverty: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?”. The holistic approach of Belo Horizonte food security programme was identified as inspired practice by FPC members. It also calls the experience of: a bid for lottery funding to develop a combined energy and food project in the city which proposed joint agency working to address deeply entrenched social problems in Lockleaze and Easton. Finally there is a project which is a national leader in terms of addressing food poverty here in Bristol and this proposal seeks to build on the practice developed by the Matthew Tree Trust and ensure a city wide provision delivered at speed.

This proposal also provides the cement for other food proposals being forward under the Ideas lab.

 

Key aspects of the approach

A combined service approach providing a range of funding stream and professional support to underpin the social sector facilities. The funding streams to be re-allocations from more traditional service approaches done through a commissioning approach. This approach as tried and tested under regernation programmes, Total Place and Community Budgets.

A linking mechanism to join organisations on a locality basis to provide support and access to full range of options: emergency food centres (food banks, breakfast and lunch clubs), fuel poverty advice (including switching and perhaps even a social tariff), social projects using food growing, cooking skills, providing both therapy and employment training services to meet client need.

Organisations mutually supporting each other with food growing projects providing produce for meals. Supported by a surplus food distribution service. This already exists but with support could do much more.

Support for organisations to help unlock charitable funding and private donations. The value of being seen as  part of a stepchange in provision would be a strong magnet for this type of funding.

Open organisational governance through partnership allowing all organisations to be part of the strategic development of the scheme.

Why the contribution is important

The existence of the food bank schemes in the city are an important indicator of people under severe economic stress. The changes to the benefit system combined with increased costs for basic living services and severe cuts to the public services are a "perfect storm" and the indicators suggest we are creating a new underclass of people that don't have a basis welfare net of support to help them. This has the potential to lead to truly dystopian future unless action is taken.

There are few tools available to directly help these people so it is only by releasing the creativity of both the public, community and private sector and working together can achieve a difference. The beneficiaries of this scheme are not only the people for whom support is targetted. It provides a focus for engendering a social responsibility for all.

So aligning public; health, social care, welfare, and community safety budgets and people resource can unlock system efficiencies to help secure community and charitable resources all around the city.

The scheme will provide foundation funding for many of the great community projects around the city which are struggling with cuts or loss of all core funding as a result in the contracting public sector.

It strengthens the messages already being promoted to encourage a food system that works for all in the city. Achieving health, economic and environmental outcomes.

 

by stevemarriott on December 20, 2013 at 05:47PM

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