News from Leonie Cooper: Praise for Wandsworth organisation tackling food poverty and waste

18 July 2018

Local Assembly Member praises

work of Wandsworth organisation

to tackle food poverty and waste

 

With food poverty on the increase in Wandsworth, local London Assembly Member, Leonie Cooper AM, visited the London Cooking Project this week to discuss their work to tackle hunger and food waste in the community. 

 

During the visit on Tuesday (17th July), Ms Cooper AM was introduced to the London Cooking Project’s volunteer-led initiative, Battersea Canteen, which provides free and healthy meals to local low income families and those living below the poverty line.

 

Ms Cooper AM heard how the organisation also plays their part in clamping down on food waste by using ingredients about to be thrown away by local shops and supermarkets.

 

Food poverty has risen in Wandsworth, with the latest statistics released by the Trussell Trust showing that over 5,000 three-day emergency food parcels were handed out to local residents between April 2017 and March 2018. A breakdown of the data shows that almost 2,000 of these supplies went to children.

 

A Trussell Trust report identified the roll-out of Universal Credit as a significant factor in the increased reliance on foodbanks, citing the experience of claimants who have been left to struggle when waiting several weeks for their first payment.

 

The most recent data from the Department of Work and Pensions reveals that as of June 2018, 2,450 people in Wandsworth were registered as Universal Credit claimants.

 

The burgeoning issue of food waste also presents a major challenge for London boroughs. The organisation, Recycle for London, estimates that households in the capital throw away 910,000 tonnes of food every year, identifying 60% of this waste as unnecessary.

 

In his Environment Strategy, the Mayor of London has set out a target to reduce food waste in London by 20% by 2025, and then 50% by 2030.

 

Local London Assembly Member, Leonie Cooper AM, said:

 

“Visiting the project provided me with a great insight into the inspiring and invaluable work that volunteers are doing on a local level to combat the rise in food poverty and waste.

 

“It is shameful that an increasing number of people in Wandsworth are forced to rely on foodbanks, as a result of callous Government austerity policies and failed welfare reforms.

 

“In the wake of Government inaction, the onus is being disproportionately placed upon organisations such as the London Cooking Project to tackle growing inequality and poverty in our communities.

 

“The Mayor has announced ambitious plans to reduce food waste and help the most vulnerable Londoners out of food poverty, but the Government clearly need to step-up and urgently do more to reverse this crisis blighting local families.”

 

ENDS

Notes to editors

-More information about the London Cooking Project can be found here;

 

- The latest statistics released by the Trussell Trust show that over 5,192 three-day emergency food parcels were handed out in Wandsworth between April 2017 and March 2018. Please find a table of the latest data attached to this email;

 

- The data attached shows that almost 1,857 of these supplies went to children;

 

- A Trussell Trust report identified the roll-out of Universal Credit as a significant factor in the increased reliance on foodbanks;

 

- The latest data from the Department of Work and Pensions reveals that as of June 2018, 2,450 people in Wandsworth are on Universal Credit;

 

- Recycle for London estimates that households in the capital throw away 910,000 tonnes of food every year, identifying 60% of this waste as unnecessary;

 

- In his Environment Strategy, the Mayor of London has set out a target to reduce food waste in London by 20% by 2025, and then 50% by 2030;

 

-Leonie Cooper AM is the London Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth.