With Walkley’s new Labour Councillor, Tom Hunt, I visited Food Works Upperthorpe to talk to staff about their work to provide affordable food for people in Sheffield.
The community café run by Food Works Sheffield is based at the Zest Centre in Upperthorpe and is run on a ‘pay what you can afford’ basis with a minimum charge of just £1.00.
As the summer holidays start, many families who rely on free school meals face a growing burden of increased childcare and food costs. Food Works has launched a new fundraising campaign to support their work to provide free meals for school children during the holidays. The latest figures from the Department for Education reveal that in Sheffield, there has been a 54% increase in the number of children eligible for free school meals since 2016-17, with a significant rise occurring in the last year.
The cost of living hunger crisis is growing but it is not inevitable. Despite the Government failing to address this growing crisis, community organisations across the city like Food Works continue to provide crucial support for struggling families.
Instead of focusing on the challenges people face, the Tories are turning in on themselves in a vicious personal battle to replace Boris Johnson. Social enterprises like Food Works do incredible work to provide healthy, sustainable meals to families struggling, and I know that dozens more community groups across the city have stepped up to the challenge caused by the Tory’s inaction. Government must match their ambition and provide proper support for those struggling, including restoring the universal credit uplift.
Councillor Tom Hunt, Councillor for Walkley said:
“Rising prices and bills mean that lots of people are struggling to afford food. That’s why the work of Food Works is so vital. Their café in Upperthorpe is a hidden gem on the frontline of helping to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. It provides affordable meals as well as volunteering opportunities to help people develop new skills and find work. I’d encourage everyone to come down to support their great work and try their fantastic food.”
Rene Meijer, Chief Executive Officer, Food Works said:
“Our environmental crisis and our cost of living crisis are both fed by a system that teaches us to take what we can. This consumerism is slowly destroying our planet and our societies. Food Works wants to show that change is possible. We build communities around food where people can take what they need if they contribute what they can. It is a simple principle that values everybody, regardless of their circumstances. It also provides people in Sheffield about a million meals worth of food every year while reducing our carbon footprint similar to a forest of 50.000 trees.”
We met with Natalie Flanagan, Chief Financial Officer for Food Works Sheffield, and with Adam Garratt, Food Hub Manager at Upperthorpe (below).