Food, friends & a future: SRGs are a recipe for success

Food and cookery bring us together. and unleash our potential - just like SRGs.

Julia Turshen, the American author and food equity advocate, describes cooking as a “constant reminder of transformation and possibility”. 

In her book, Feed The Resistance, she writes: “Cooking shows us over and over again that we can make things happen, we can make change happen, with just our own hands. Food is metaphor personified and within that there is reaffirmation of what we can accomplish.”

SRG member Rahela gives a cookery demonstration

SRGs bring people together

Self Reliant Groups, like the ones we partner with in Greater Manchester, Leeds and South Wales, do just that: they bring people together to make change happen – often around food.

Members of Self Reliant Groups (or SRGs, as we call them) save together, come up with ideas together, and create together. Some focus on crafts and arts, others focus on food.

In the photos on this page, SRG member Rahela Khan gives a cookery demonstration at the recent Your Local Pantry conference, using recipes from fellow group members. 

SRG member Rahela gives a cookery demonstration

Self Reliant Groups feature on the November page of the 2022 Dignity, Agency, Power photo calendar, because they are a heartening community success story from the past few years. SRGs show us that amazing things happen when people come together and work together.

SRG member Rahela gives a cookery demonstration

What is a Self Reliant Group?

A Self-Reliant Group (SRG) is:

  • A group of friends who support each other and meet regularly.
  • A group that is independent of funders and doesn’t have to tick anyone else’s boxes. It makes its own decisions.
  • A group that shares skills and learns together.
  • A group that saves together (small, manageable amounts like £1 per week) and has the potential to become a business.

Church Action on Poverty supports SRGs, with help to get started, sharing and signposting for ideas, learning and queries, networking with others in the SRG movement, and by sharing inspiration from other groups.

What you can do:

Self Reliant Group members from Greater Manchester and North West England recently produced their own recipe book. You can buy it here. 

If you are interested in learning more about SRGs, or potentially setting one up, you can email Joyce at Church Action on Poverty.


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