Community Action Network (CAN) is delighted to name the award-winning Access to Food Partnership as our Community Hero in the Spotlight for September 2022.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, and now with the cost of living crisis, CAN wants to raise awareness of the fantastic work of the partnership which works closely with numerous groups to provide free and discounted food, cleaning equipment and personal hygiene equipment to those in need in our local communities.

In May, the Access to Food Partnership won the Bronze Award in iESE’s Public Sector Transformation Awards 2022 in the ‘Working Together Category’. It also celebrated the Partnership, which brings together food providers to share best practice, information and advice. It has offered Food Hygiene training and has Safeguarding training sessions planned for the autumn to ensure volunteers, staff and those being helped receive the very best support.

Daisy Carr, BCP Council’s Food Co-ordinator, says: “The people behind foodbanks, social supermarkets, community fridges, community meals, cooking workshops and many others have been going above and beyond throughout the pandemic and the current rise in cost of living. It is a privilege to work with such inspiring people and to explore how we can all continue to collaborate to ensure people in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole can access nutritious food, all of the time.”

Part of the Partnership is the Access to Food map which shows where affordable food can be accessed across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole from Food Banks, to People’s Pantries, Lunch Clubs and Social Supermarkets.

Mel Meadowcroft, a member of the Access to Food Partnership, says: "The Access to food partnership has been a great support to our project, Moor Community Food, which was set up in June 2020 as a response to the Covid lockdown. I have linked with lots of like-minded people and local projects and am looking forward to how we can work together in the future to support each other and to tackle issues together.”   

Hannah Rees, Engagement Lead for CAN says: “The Access to Food Partnership shows what can happen when the voluntary sector and statutory sector work together as equal partners. By combining the experiences of local people, the vast range of skills and knowledge from voluntary sector food providers and the ability to influence policy and decision-making of local statutory services, the Access to Food Partnership is forging the way so we’re all able to provide nutritious, affordable food for our families.”

You can find more information about the Access to Food Partnership here.