Suffolk food and drink giants join ranks to tackle county’s hunger problem
Leading heavyweights from Suffolk’s food and drink industry have joined forces to help launch a brand new fund to fight food deprivation.
Influencers from across the county’s thriving food and drink sector have lent their personal support to create the Suffolk Community Foundation’s Food and Drink Fund, which will be distributed to charities and community groups helping to relieve hunger across the county.
The fund is set to benefit a range of different food distributors, including foodbanks, lunch clubs and meal delivery services. With the need for emergency food provision increasing across the county, it is expected that the quantity of foodbanks will rise due to the roll-out of Universal Credit.
By launching the new fund, Suffolk Community Foundation hopes it can play a part in maintaining the services for those in genuine need – funding lunch clubs and Christmas food parcels, as well as ‘good parenting’ courses, budgeting and debt assistance.
Also due to benefit are meal delivery services – designed for vulnerable people, often elderly and returning from hospital, who are unable to travel.
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The services not only provide hot, healthy food, but are also a practical way to reduce social isolation for those in need.
In 2016, the ‘Hidden Needs’ report published by the University of Suffolk revealed nearly half of Suffolk’s neighbourhoods had become more deprived over the last five years. The worst cases of multiple deprivation were found in the large towns, particularly Ipswich and Lowestoft, but there were found to be levels of deprivation across the county – even in some areas normally seen as affluent.
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Those pledging their support include coffee giant Paddy Bishopp, who founded the phenomenally successful Paddy & Scott’s Coffee in Earl Soham in 2006. He went on to create the Bubble and Squid brand, followed by Bishopp & Co. Ltd – a consultancy firm that offers support to businesses in the food and drink sector.
Also joning forces to launch the fund are hotelier Tim Rowan-Robinson, who is chairman at Thorpeness and Aldeburgh Hotels; duck meat specialist William Buchanan, who runs Gressingham Foods based in Debach, near Woodbridge; and Aspall custodian and chairman of the European Vinegar Federation Barry Chevallier Guild.
Judy Dow, head of philanthropy at Suffolk Community Foundation, said: “The foundation’s recent Hidden Needs Report identified that over 83,000 people in Suffolk live at the most minimal standard provided by welfare benefits. This represents 12% of the county’s population and includes nearly 20,000 children and 25,000 older people.
“Deprivation however goes beyond income and includes other forms of disadvantage, including food poverty. Although on average Suffolk has lower rates of multiple deprivation than England, it includes some of the country’s most deprived neighbourhoods.
“Over 14% of neighbourhoods in Ipswich and 12% in Waveney are ranked among the most deprived 10% in England.”
Paddy Bishopp, chairman of the Food and Drink Fund added: “As a large rural county, food, drink and agriculture are important to Suffolk’s economy, with agriculture employing over 10,000 people, and food and drink processing employing a further 9,000 people. Further potential for growth is being driven by national demand for high-quality, locally sourced food and drink.
“With a number of themed funds already an integral part of the foundation’s grantmaking capabilities, the Food and Drink Fund will play a vital role in helping to address local needs throughout Suffolk.
“The aim of the Food and Drink Fund is to support charitable activities addressing local needs particularly those where there is a direct link with food and drink. The fund will support charities, voluntary and community groups throughout Suffolk through a small grants programme.
“Grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 will be awarded, with the first grants being awarded in September 2018.”
Also contributing to the project are Curzon Associate Marketing, Ethic-Oil, James White Drinks and Suffolk Food Hall.
Stephen Singleton, Suffolk Community Foundation chief executive said: “We are delighted to be working with such an influential group of people from the sector. Without their support this fund would never have become a reality.
“It is only with their drive, dedication and generous support that Suffolk Community Foundation can develop this type of themed fund, which is targeted to support vital areas of food deprivation within Suffolk.”
If you are involved with a food and drink business and would like to be a part of the project, contact Suffolk Community Foundation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.