Posted: Sat 13th Mar 2021

Healthy fast food shop and free fruit for Flintshire secondary schools considered in bid to tackle food poverty in

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Mar 13th, 2021

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Opening a healthy fast food shop and handing out free fruit in secondary schools are among the options being considered to tackle food poverty in Flintshire.

The initiatives are being examined by Flintshire Council as part of ongoing efforts to stop people from going hungry.

The food shop would be created as part of the Well-Fed scheme, which is a partnership between the local authority, Clwyd Alyn Housing Association and the Liverpool-based Can Cook charity.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the food company has provided thousands of meals and slow cooker bags to residents, as well as boxes containing three days’ worth of food for patients returning from hospital.

The council is also looking to offer free fruit to all secondary school pupils in the area to encourage healthy eating.

The projects have been revealed in a report to members of the ruling Labour cabinet, which outlines long-term ambitions to ensure everyone has access to fresh food.

In the document, Flintshire’s chief officer for housing and assets, Neal Cockerton said: “Well-Fed’s aim is to open a shop in a busy high street where we will be able to sell ready meals to all of the passing public.

“The shop would be set up as a healthier-faster-food outlet, allowing customers to purchase warm and eat-on-the-premises or take-home meals of their choice.

“Part of the revenue generated from the meals purchased from the shop will go back into the subsidy set aside to help feed vulnerable households.”

In relation to the free fruit programme, he said: “It was identified pupils were using some of their free school meal allowance when they arrived at school to buy breakfast, meaning they did not have enough allowance left to buy a proper meal at lunchtime or they were arriving at school late and missing breakfast club due to taking the bus or because of a chaotic lifestyle.

“The free fruit initiative was piloted in one high school in April 2019, providing free fruit available to all students as a mid-morning snack, it was a great success.

“We have secured funding to be able to roll this initiative out across all high schools in Flintshire.”

Projects launched by the council to date include a “share your lunch” food programme to provide thousands of meals to pupils during the school holidays.

Packed lunches have been delivered to the homes of children who could not access their free school meals during the Covid crisis, before direct payments were later brought in.

Support for vulnerable and shielding residents has also been provided during lockdown with the delivery of a weekly food box.

Another initiative being considered in future involves giving people free slow cookers and teaching them how to cook for themselves.

Mr Cockerton said: “Since the summer of 2018, we have been busy tackling food poverty and food insecurities in Flintshire.

“The food poverty strategy has been adopted by the Public Service Board and Flintshire are the regional lead and chair of North Wales Food Poverty Alliance.

“This year has raised some significant challenges, however rather than constrain progress they have created opportunities and enabled us to make a positive impact and allowed us to bring some of our future ambitions for delivery and business transformation forward.”

Cabinet members will be asked to support the delivery plan for tackling food poverty over the next 12 months when they meet on Tuesday (March 16, 2021).

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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