Health Project launches Hungry for Change report
“Our experience is rich and valuable and we want to be part of the solution” – Sean Fitzharris
Pilton Community Health Project has launched its new report, ‘Hungry for Change’. The report, the result of conversations with local people experiencing food insecurity, was launched at the Old Kirk and Muirhouse Parish Church yesterday. PCHP want the report to be a catalyst for action to alleviate food insecurity for North Edinburgh residents and to tackle the root causes of poverty.
Many of the themes that come out of the report are important locally and at a policy level. Key among them
- Food insecurity is caused by poverty. One resident said:
‘They need to realise that food poverty is a symptom of poverty, there’s more that needs to be fixed than just the food’
- Residents in north Edinburgh think that Government at all levels should take more responsibility for tacking food insecurity.
- Food insecurity had a negative impact on residents’ mental health and on the mental health services that they use
- Residents in north Edinburgh have led the development of community initiatives that provide food for others. Those who are experiencing food insecurity find these locally grown solutions a more dignified way for them to obtain food.
At the launch Pilton Community Health Project highlighted the need:
– To include the voices and opinions of those who have experienced food insecurity and those who work with them in the debate, so they are leading the solutions.
– To recognise and better support the wealth of community food activities that are currently being run by residents in north Edinburgh. This includes more community development support and finding practical solutions to difficulties in accessing kitchens in public spaces and channelling money to these local initiatives.
– To use opportunities created by new developments, particularly in the Muirhouse area, to ensure there are the shops that meet the needs of residents’.
– To encourage government to introduce a more humane and adaptable Benefits system.
– To tackle the root causes of poverty by increasing wages and creating more secure jobs.
Local resident Sean Fitzharris, leader of MAD (mums and dads) cooking sessions and advisor to Pilton Community Health Project’s food team, said: “I got involved because I see how poverty is affecting people around me. We can deliver some activities that help people get enough food, but we need decision makers to listen to us to fix the bigger picture. Our experience is rich and valuable and we want to be part of the solution.”
Anita Aggarwal, Community Development Manager at Pilton Community Health Project added: “We can’t do our work without Sean and the many, many other community activists in north Edinburgh. To find effective and dignified solutions to food insecurity we have to learn from residents like Sean. We hope this report is a platform for their views.”