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Tackling poverty

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08 October 2014
Whitefoot Food Bank Around this time last year I blogged about the launch of the Whitefoot and Downham Community Food + Project - a new food bank and advice project based at the Whitefoot Lane Christian Centre. 

Whilst I am still appalled by the need for foodbanks in 21st Century London, I am really pleased to report that the food project has gone from strength to strength - so much so that last week I nominated them to receive an award from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Poverty.  

This year, for the first time, the APPG have sought nominations for the Paul Goggins Memorial Prize. The prize has been established to commemorate my former colleague in the Commons Paul Goggins, who sadly passed away last year. 

As soon as I heard about the Memorial Prize, I knew that I had to nominate the Whitefoot and Downham Community Food + Project. Set up by a committed and dedicated team of volunteers from the local community, with the aim of alleviating poverty and building community, it brings together church leaders, existing community organisations and local housing, health and advice providers.

Over 50 volunteers now help to run the food project, which was the brainchild of Whitefoot Councillor, Janet Daby. Put simply, it provides a lifeline for many in our community who are suffering real hardship. Whilst food is at the heart of what they do, it’s also about equipping people with all that they need to get on in life. In conjunction with organisations such as Phoenix Community Housing, the Downham Nutritional Partnership and Lewisham CAB the project provides the local community with housing advice, CV support, cookery courses, a job club and support to local parents (to name a few!). Many people who first visited the food project for help are now some of the projects most dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers.

The fantastic work the project does can be probably best be summed up in the YouTube video below, which forms part of my nomination for the prize.


The fact that so many people struggle to put food on the table in the UK’s capital is a tragic reminder of how unequal and divided our city can be. However, the response of volunteers, churches and community organisations is inspiring. I applaud the hard work of everyone involved in setting up and running the project and am keeping my fingers crossed that the All Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty will recognise the really terrific work do. 

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