Food Aid Provision and Policy Change

Picture of volunteers at Legendary Community Club. Title states “food provision is a political act”.
MCT Millwall community trust volunteering with LCC
  • Join the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN). IFAN connects, supports, campaigns and advocates on behalf of independent grassroots food aid providers operating across the UK including over 450 independent food banks. Find out more here and read their latest letter to the Prime Minister here.
  • One strategy advocated by IFAN includes writing to MPs. Studies show this can have a positive impact. Or, for example, tweet your MP. You could use the latest figures from your organisation and ask them what they think of this situation, and when they are planning to raise this in parliament. The key is to be consistent and persistent, even if at first you do not get a response.
  • Start conversations (via email, Twitter etc) with local councils about the issues your organisation is facing. Contact key members/councillors and leverage your social media position to obtain positive results. This can lead to positive relationships forming, which might result in more access to information/influence.
  • Social media can be a useful tool to raise awareness with the general public, who are often unaware of the consequences of certain policies, or who are only exposed to damaging narratives about inequality and its causes. Public outrage is a very effective tool for policy change. For example, recently LCC tweeted a graphic that depicted a counter narrative to ‘we can’t afford to keep the £20 uplift to Universal Credit’.
  • Despite the drawbacks of being trapped in an echo chamber, social media can be used as an effective tool to organise resistance to harmful policies by working as a network with other groups dealing with issues tangential to our own. Have a look at who your organisation is following — seek out voices from other social justice sectors and ask yourselves are you listening to voices from marginalised communities if you are not from one yourself? Are you following people with lived experience of the issues you are fighting to change, if you haven’t had these experiences yourself?
  • Join campaigns and calls to action to address poverty, for example those run and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Save the Children, Child Poverty Action Group, the Trussell Trust, Turn2Us, The Children’s Society, StepChange and IFAN. Often these charities welcome collaborations with smaller, grassroots organisations in order to bridge the gaps between what’s happening on the frontline and policy recommendations. Being part of IFAN can help you make these connections.

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