An Update From Our Community Coordinators

An Update From Our Community Coordinators

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Since we received funding from BCC emergency winter fund in February, we have supported hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers with food provision. Did you know that BME communities are reported over 4 times more likely to be in receipt of emergency food provision than the average Bristol household and a 5% higher chance of experiencing food insecurity? 

Building connections and food packages

We have been thrilled to be able to provide outreach emergency support during this very challenging Covid winter, and through the two community coordinator roles, diversifying our community food programmes to meet the needs and challenges of this time. This in turn has enabled us to build longer lasting partnerships and connections across Bristol in order to meet some of the food provision requirements and respond to the needs in particular of culturally appropriate food.

We have also been able to directly reach families and provide them with food packages weekly, a very tangible action that has felt extremely meaningful. We have learnt a lot more about the needs of refugee families/BME communities and will be using this information to inform a long-term strategic approach moving forward as to how best to support food equality in Bristol through asset based community development and empowerment, as well as advocacy at an organisational level. 

Some of the things we’ve been busy with…

In our first 3 months Jan – March 2021 we:

  • Leveraged several thousand £’s worth of in-kind and financial support from funders and supporters
  • Fed 160+ people a week
  • Built strong working partnerships and meaningful connections with several organisations across the city (see our partners page for more details)
  • Supported local businesses e.g. Pak Butchers, Star Cash and Carry, Total Produce
  • Raised awareness about Ramadan and culturally appropriate food, and informed citywide conversations about this including donating halal meat to Food Clubs
  • Attended citywide meetings and contributed to Bristol’s food strategy (including supporting foodbanks with 300 tin openers delivered across the city!)
  • Coordinated donations from various foodbanks/groups and distributed them to where they were most needed e.g bulk nappies to Aidbox, tinned tomatoes to St Paul’s Food Club

It’s been a busy and wonderful project. The response has been emotional at times. Women have been overwhelmed by the fresh produce commenting for example on the “best coriander they have ever had in Bristol.” The women have been so grateful for the quality and amount of food given. Recently saying the flour given was the best quality too and that they will pray for us with thanks! The halal meat given to asylum seekers as well as fresh produce such as aubergines, parsley, basil means they can sit together and eat food that reminds them of home. This has been a small blessing, as they have been able to cook their traditional dishes and eat together. Food is an important part of certain cultures. It’s about eating together and sharing stories. Thank you very much to Burgess Salmon for their support of this project.

This is only the beginning! So please keep an eye out for updates, and in the meantime please spread the word and if possible we appreciate any donations towards this work. Thank you.