Helping people access food over the festive period

1 December 2020

Partners across Cheshire West and Chester are working hard to make sure no-one in the borough goes hungry this Christmas. 

Planning is already underway on a co-ordinated way of providing food for those in need this Christmas. 

Recently, more than 70 people attended a webinar hosted by the Welcome Network, that looked at how best to tackle ‘holiday hunger’ over the festive season.

The Welcome Network is commissioned by Cheshire West and Chester Council and has been on a mission to provide food to those who need it since 2017. 

The organisation is creating spaces for local people and agencies to come together, building networks and strengthening relationships with the community and sharing good food.

Other partners involved in the project include Healthbox CIC, West Cheshire Foodbank, Mid-Cheshire Foodbank, Cheshire West Voluntary Action, Citizens Advice Cheshire West, Feeding Britain and others. 

As COVID-19 has brought many challenges and more people are likely to need access to food this winter, the Welcome Network’s webinar aimed to bring community groups and businesses together and help co-ordinate the offer across Cheshire West and Chester. 

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of the Council, chaired the meeting and there were presentations from a number of food champions who are already part of the Welcome Network umbrella.  

Steph Ellis, Manager of the Welcome Network, said: “The most sustainable way to build food provision is to work together across different sectors. We want to make sure there’s an offer that is co-ordinated and no one is left to go hungry.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our communities and this Christmas could be more challenging for some people than it ever has been before. 

“Many groups and businesses are helping people access the food they need, but it’s very important we work with one another to make sure food is reaching people in need of support and no one misses out.

“It was fantastic to see so many people attend our webinar and we all had the same goal: to make sure people are able to access the food they need this Christmas.

“We want to live in a borough where everyone has access to affordable and healthy food in a dignified way and the ability to make a decent meal.”

Councillor Gittins added: “The Welcome Network has done so much fantastic work over the last couple of years and that’s never been more important than during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s important we get people with the same agenda to discuss food and how we’re able to best support our communities across Cheshire West and Chester. 

“We plan to hold similar webinars in the near future to bring more people under the Welcome Network umbrella and encourage them to think about the long-term strategy for food provision.

“'We've declared a Poverty Emergency and, while this is about Christmas provision, we’re also working towards the longer-term aim of reducing poverty in Cheshire West and Chester." 

The Welcome Network has set up an online form so community groups and business can highlight their plans for distributing food over the festive period. This will help the Welcome Network map about the different services on offer across the borough.  For more information about the Welcome Network and all the work it does, visit the Welcome Network website.

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