Lottery funding expands campaign

AFC Unity
AFC Unity
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A Sheffield initiative has received a lottery grant, to expand its local food drive and raise awareness of poverty.

AFC Unity, a Sheffield-based women’s football club and not-for-profit community organisation, launched its Football for Food campaign last September.

The club began collecting donations of tinned foods at their home games, which they then passed on to Sheffield Food Collective to be distributed to food banks at Fir Vale, Parson Cross, Firth Park and S20. The club’s members also set about raising awareness of the extent of food poverty and the reasons why more people are going to food banks, as well as tackling common misconceptions and stigmas surrounding food banks.

This latest injection of funding, from the Big Lottery Fund: Awards For All and Freshgate Trust Foundation, will allow AFC Unity to organise more local events and spread their messages of awareness even further.

Jay Baker, the manager of AFC Unity, said: “In 2010, there were three food banks in Sheffield. There are now an estimated sixteen, alongside other community food provision and assistance schemes. There are approximately 40,000 people in Sheffield living in food poverty and over 30,000 people in Sheffield are malnourished.

“This funding will allow us to collect more food for local food banks, but also raise awareness of key statistics and information regarding the causes of food poverty. Since starting the campaign in 2015 we have collected 339 kilograms of food at 11 events and Sheffield Food Collective worked out that this equates to around 350 meals.”

Laura Burn Acaster, of Sheffield Food Collective, said: ‘We are very happy to collaborate with AFC Unity to collect food donations and raise awareness of food poverty in our city. Together we can help ensure that all of us get enough to eat.

Future events already in the diary, thanks to this new pot of funding, include a Pop-Up Quiz, on July 8 at Union Street, a five-a-side fooball tournament at The U-Mix Centre on July 16, and an 11-a-side volunteer day at The Sunday Centre on July 24,

AFC Unity will also continue to do their regular food collections at their home games at Hillsborough College throughout the 2016-2017 season.

Visit www.afcunity.org/football-for-food for more details on the campaign.