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End Hunger UK campaigners

Everyone should have access to good food. Nobody should need to go to bed hungry.

Those simple values were the driving force behind End Hunger UK, an inspiring and hope-filled campaign that brought together thousands of people from 2016 to 2019.

Throughout this year, we are telling the stories featured in the 2022 Dignity, Agency, Power calendar, and April takes us to this photo, from one of the campaign’s most uplifting events.

End Hunger UK campaigners

How the campaign began

The End Hunger UK campaign was born from an almost universal anger and discomfort. All over the country, people and communities had seen the sudden and very steep rise in food poverty. Hunger is not new, but the scale and extent of it, and the way in which food aid had become an alarmingly routine part of society, felt unprecedented.

Charities, church groups, researchers and groups of people all over the UK joined forces, to see if they could pool their resources and power.

Over the lifetime of the campaign, thousands of people took part, writing to politicians, taking part in days of action, lobbying for policy change and simply standing up to say that hunger is unacceptable in a wealthy country like this.

Joining forces and singing together

It was very deliberately a coalition campaign. We know we can make more progress when, instead of talking over each other at key moments, we sing in chorus together.

That was very aptly illustrated at a campaign launch event at Sheffield Cathedral, pictured here, when Britain’s first food bank choir led the calls for change.

What we need in the long term

Lasting change requires Government leadership. Since this campaign, the pandemic and rising living costs have swept many more people into deep, deep difficulty. The need for Government action remains irrefutable.  

What we need is a national strategy to end hunger by 2030, and we need a clear roadmap involving all Government departments, to guide all Government policy in the coming years.

Reasons to remain hopeful

That won’t be easy, but the widespread support for End Hunger UK and the dynamic way it engaged people give reasons for hope. As a result of the campaign, Westminster began funding support for low-income families during school holidays for the first time, and also agreed to finally begin monitoring household food insecurity, an essential foundation stone for any serious attempts to solve it.

Attempts to end hunger in the UK continue. Hundreds of thousands of people continue to volunteer in or donate to neighbourhood projects, and the case for lasting Government action continues to grow.

Everyone should have access to good food. Nobody should need to go to bed hungry.

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Support for the Right To Food campaign is growing

The Right To Food campaign is in the news a lot at the moment. But what is it, and what does it call for?

You may not know it, but everybody in the UK has a right to adequate food.

In 1976, the UK Government made a binding commitment under international human rights law to secure the human right to adequate food for everyone in the UK.

But… that commitment has never been enshrined into law. Food access remains very insecure and fragile for millions of people.

Attention on the issue has grown rapidly of late.

Where did the Right To Food idea come from?

There have been calls for many years for the UK to enact its 1976 commitment. Those calls have been growing for several years. The End Hunger UK campaign, for instance, called for the Westminster Government to recognise the Right To Food and ensure it was being met. Sustain has produced compelling arguments for action in recent years.

Support for the Right To Food campaign is growing

Why is Right To Food in the news now?

Things have moved quickly in 2021. The Fans Supporting Foodbanks group led by football supporters in Liverpool has taken up the cause and launched a concerted and widely popular campaign. It has captured the public imagination and is gaining wide support. Liverpool then declared itself a Right To Food City. The Greater Manchester City Region then did the same, and there are calls for several other cities to sign up.

In spring, the EFRA Committee in Parliament called for the Government to consult on the Right to Food, and called for a new Minister for Food Security. This online petition has more than 48,000 signatures. 

The campaign is very timely.  The Prime Minister has asked Henry Dimbleby to create a National Food Strategy and his report is due this summer. If he backs the Right To Food campaign calls, the Government would be legally responsible for ensuring everyone in the UK has access to adequate food. That would be a key step towards building a more just and compassionate society.

What is Church Action on Poverty's view on Right To Food?

We worked on this issue in 2015, alongside people in poverty, academics and other organisations. We looked at what a Right To Food might mean for people in the UK, and how we could ensure the right is met.

In 2015, we produced this short video, working with people with personal experience of food poverty.

Then, in 2018, we co-produced the Step Up To The Plate report, calling for Government action

The issue is as important now as it was then, and we encourage our supporters to back the Fans Supporting Foodbanks petition, to help build a more just and compassionate society for all, where food justice is secured.

Merseyside Pantries reach big milestone

Transforming the Jericho Road

Partner focus: Meet Community One Stop in Edinburgh

Thank you Pat! 40 years of compassionate action

Halifax voices: on housing, hope and scandalous costs

The UK doesn’t want demonising rhetoric – it wants to end poverty

6 people holding cut-out numbers, reading 150,000

Merseyside Pantries reach big milestone

Transforming the Jericho Road

A photo of two volunteers in Your Local Pantry aprons, beside a photo of two members shopping

Partner focus: Meet Community One Stop in Edinburgh