Feeding Birkenhead is a coalition of churches, community groups, and other organisations working together to eliminate hunger in Birkenhead.

Work Priorities

  1. Ensure children in Birkenhead are adequately fed during term time and the school holidays
  2. Develop a Food Bank Plus service and a Reformed Welfare Contract in Jobcentre Plus
  3. Deliver a Citizens’ Supermarket
  4. Initiate new projects to feed the homeless
  5. Influence local and national policy to safeguard people from hunger

Who's Involved

Frank Field MP
Andrew Forsey
Wirral Foodbank
FareShare
Involve North West
Neo Community Café
North Birkenhead Development Trust
Wirral Methodists
The Hive
Wirral’s Homeless Angels
Citizens Advice Wirral
Wirral Play Council
Beechwood Community Trust

Projects

School Holiday Meals and Fun

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Feeding Birkenhead has established a free meals and fun project for children who might otherwise be hungry during school holidays. Over the past two years, community groups in Beechwood, Central and North Birkenhead, Prenton, Rock Ferry, and Tranmere have provided this service for a total of 2,000 children. Many of those children usually receive free school meals during term time. Much of the food supplied by the project is sourced from local supermarkets’ surplus stocks which would otherwise be wasted. Children are able to participate in arts, crafts, cooking, games, and sports at each session.

Breakfast Clubs

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Feeding Birkenhead has helped twelve schools set up and maintain breakfast clubs, by tapping into a supply of surplus breakfast products that are intercepted by a charity called His Church (many of those products would otherwise have been thrown to waste, despite being perfectly edible). The equivalent of 156,000 breakfasts were distributed to schools in March 2017 alone. Donations from the public enabled Feeding Birkenhead to purchase ten pallets of fruit juice, fruit snacks, porridge, muesli, jams and spreads, at £20 per pallet, to supplement the breakfast cereals that are provided free of charge.

Food Bank Plus

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Feeding Birkenhead has commissioned a joint project between Wirral Foodbank and Involve Northwest, to prevent people from experiencing prolonged periods of hunger. The project is delivered by a trained benefits advisor who is on hand to resolve people’s crises during their first visit to the food bank. Over the past 18 months, over 700 people have received help and advice, of which half have had their crises addressed there and then, meaning they no longer had to visit the food bank.

Fuel Bank

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Feeding Birkenhead has also brokered an agreement between Wirral Foodbank and npower for the delivery of one of the country’s first Fuel Banks. The Fuel Bank offers two-week credit vouchers for gas and electricity to those people who would otherwise be unable to afford the energy they require to cook the contents of their food parcel. Over the past 18 months, 6,000 people have been helped by this project.

Food for the destitute homeless

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Feeding Birkenhead is working with the local authority to roll out a voucher scheme which enables the destitute homeless to receive hot meals at participating cafes. A further planned scheme will involve Thermos flasks being given to the destitute homeless, and for participating cafes to allow them free access to hot water, so that sachets of soup or pasta provided by community groups can be prepared at any time. Alongside this, Feeding Birkenhead is campaigning to get the Ministry of Defence to divert its surplus ration packs to the destitute homeless.

Citizen's Supermarket

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Feeding Birkenhead is setting up a Citizens’ Supermarket in the precinct to enable local families to buy their weekly shopping at a heavily discounted price; and, alongside this, to provide advice and advocacy on benefits, looking for work, debt, budgeting, and cooking, that will build those families’ resilience against hunger. All of the food will be sourced from food manufacturers’ surplus stocks, thereby preventing it from going to waste. Opening date is set for the end of September 2018.

Policy Reform

Feeding Birkenhead has begun influencing local policy to deliver gains for individuals and families who might otherwise go hungry. Progress has been made in registration for free school meals, improved minimum requirements for private landlords to ensure basic cooking facilities, and an early opportunity to settle council tax debt.

The lessons learned from Feeding Birkenhead's work are helping to shape national policy, particularly around energy prices, tax credits and child benefit, benefit sanctions, and a reformed welfare contract.

How You Can Help

Launch a fundraiser

Donate

Volunteer

Related Materials

Download Feeding Birkenhead pamphlet

For more information about the pilot and ways to get involved please contact Andrew Forsey at [email protected]   

Donate to Feeding Birkenhead