Food poverty survey will discover extent of people struggling to feed their families in Sheffield
Sheffield residents are being encouraged to take part in a survey about food poverty in the city.
A cross party working group of councillors wants to hear from people who have been affected by food poverty, how easy it is to access support and what more can be done to help.
The council is holding a three week consultation to record anyone’s experiences in a survey, especially during the pandemic. It is also an opportunity for any group to make suggestions as to how things could be improved across the city.
Councillor Douglas Johnson said: “It came out of a suggestion at the overview scrutiny management committee about the need to have a fresh look at food poverty, partly in light of the pandemic but partly because it has such a devastating effect on people.
“I’m on the working group and I pushed for this public call for evidence – I wanted it in the broadest terms, so that people could tell their own stories and suggest their own solutions, rather than be led by councillors and officers with a predetermined view of what we expected to hear. It’s really fundamental.
“I think there was a bit of a response to new people coming into poverty over the course of the pandemic however, poverty isn’t anything new and doesn’t relate only to coronavirus.
“There is a big food-relief movement in the city now with food banks and other organisations and they do great work but they should not need to exist in 2021. Personally, I would like to see the need for food banks eliminated.
“The most helpful thing that councillors can hear is people’s direct experiences and worries about not having enough food for the family.”
There are about 22,000 children in receipt of free school meals in Sheffield but it is hoped the survey will provide the council with more figures.
The survey is available here or people can leave a message on 07393 762205 and one of the officers will call back. The results of the survey will be presented to councillors in a report on March 25.