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Social worker takes action to tackle food poverty

A social worker from Canterbury has launched a new campaign to help people facing food insecurity and relying on food banks.

Two-thirds (64%) of social workers have reported concerns about families being able to provide food for children, according to new research from the Social Workers Union.

Social workers claimed that families they work with are compromising on the quality of food to save money (71%), compromising on the quantity of food consumed to save money (59%) and skipping meals (55%).

Over four-fifths (84%) said the vulnerable children and families they work with rely on food banks.

Over the past 12 months over half (52%) report food poverty and insecurity has got dramatically worse with a further 35% saying it has got somewhat worse.

Dominic Watters, a single dad social worker, who runs the Food Is Care campaign, said:

The issue of food has been off the table for too long because social work leaders are out-of-touch with the daily living experience of poverty.

Food is Care is a campaign letting those in power know that poor, often single parent families in council estates, are hungry and feel unheard.

Despite the extent of the problem revealed by the research only a few social workers (6%) felt they had sufficient training to deal with the issue. Eight in ten (82%) added that the issue should be included in the British Association of Social Workers’ Professional Capabilities Framework, Department of Education Knowledge and Skills Statement, and Social Work England’s professional standards.

Dominic Watters continued:

Our unique survey not only shows how widespread this issue is, but also an undeniable connection between food insecurity and social work.

I am asking for the professional bodies to view this as an opportunity to centrally locate food insecurity into their practice guidance to help address this inequality.

The fact it is taking a single dad from a deprived council block and not the policymakers to request this change is-in-its-self a demonstration of the discrimination poor people experience.

For more information, visit: change.org/foodiscare.

The campaign is being supported by the Social Workers Union Campaign Fund, run in conjunction with social enterprise Campaign Collective.

Image: Shutterstock

simon@simonfrancis.org

Founder Member of Campaign Collective, chair of the Public Relations & Communications Association Charity and Not-For-Profit Group. Write mainly about charity, public sector and social enterprise campaigns.