Free Cost of Living Events across Teignbridge
As both local and national government and Teignbridge residents are realising that the Cost-of-Living crisis is far from over, Teignbridge CVS have organised a series of free Cost-of-Living events across the district in cooperation with Teignbridge District Council.
Anybody who is worried about making ends meet this coming winter, or concerned about rising food and household bills or rising mortgage payments is encouraged to attend any of the events for information, advice and help as well as an opportunity to win some energy saving gadgets. Entrance is free.
Events will take place:
Bovey Tracey, Riverside Centre 13/9
Moretonhampstead, Parish Hall 21/9
Newton Abbot, Courtenay Centre 5/10
Teignmouth, Pavilions 9/10
Christow, Teign Valley Community Hall 18/10
Buckfastleigh, St Lukes Church Hall 26/10
All events are open from 9.30 – 12.30, apart from the Teignmouth one which starts at 10 and runs to 1 pm.
There will be lots of organisations present at all the events to answer questions and offer support, ranging from Teignbridge District Council, Citizens Advice, South West Water and organisations offering energy advice, learning opportunities and wellbeing support to local organisations offering help with food, mental health, budgeting and more.
For more information or to find out about help that may be available with transport please email [email protected] or call 07435 570161.
Devon Food Insecurity Summit
Devon Community Foundation was funded by Devon County Council in 2020 to explore the range of organisations working in some way with food, and whether and how they might work together more closely in future. This research was gathered at a District level and highlighted effective organisations and positive work underway across Devon, alongside a recommendation that better collaboration and networking were required.
Subsequent research undertaken by Transform Research on behalf of Devon County Council in autumn 2022 investigated the extent and experience of food and fuel insecurity in households across the county.
Of significant concern within these pieces of recent research was that many of those most at risk of food insecurity are the least likely to access or able to access support from food organisations. The Transform Research, in particular, noted that several challenges remain for certain groups in the county, for example those from minority ethnic backgrounds, lone adult households, households with one or more members with mental health conditions and those in receipt of individual benefit types, such as Free School Meals.
In August 2022, the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Assembly contracted Devon Community Foundation to pilot and develop a specialist hub around Food Insecurity to bring together insight, intelligence, innovation and lived experience. In response to the research gaps (outlined above) and in order to progress the VCSE Hub proposal, DCF agreed to pilot a set of inter-related, small-scale research projects. The objective was to delve deeper into the complex issues facing people in food insecurity. By building on this evidence base, the Food Insecurity Hub would, therefore, be able to propose models for collective cross-sectoral working focused on tackling food insecurity in the county. In addition to the VCSE Assembly investment, further funding was secured from DCC and DCF. In total, six projects were agreed. Research took place between September 2022 and April 2023 and findings were presented at the Summit which took place on 28th May 2023 at Exeter University.
You can read the full report Final Report Devon Food Insecurity Hub research May 23 (1)
Households reminded of support available as new survey shows rise in food poverty in Devon
Families struggling to afford to eat healthily and keep warm this winter are being reminded that support is available through a number of schemes being delivered by Devon County Council (DCC) and its partners.
The number of Devon households unable to access or afford the food that they need to ensure that they and their families stay healthy has increased by 70 per cent in 18 months according to the latest research.
And more than a third (36 per cent) say that they had planned on switching off their heating altogether this winter to help make ends meet.
Independent Food and Fuel Insecurity Survey (link to be provided), commissioned by Public Health Devon, reveals that food insecurity amongst Devon’s households has increased from 17 per cent in Spring 2021 to 29 per cent during Autumn last year. It compared a baseline study conducted in March and April 2021 with interviews of 1,206 households in September and October 2022.
The results show that 70 per cent of all households with an income of less than £16,190 and children have low food and fuel security, while 60 per cent of single adult households with children are affected.High rates of food insecurity were also found in households where the main respondent is long-term sick or disabled (58 per cent); where at least one person has a mental health condition (55 per cent); and where the main respondent is unemployed (55 per cent).
Additionally, the proportion of Devon households who have accessed emergency food support in the previous 30 days had more than doubled from two per cent to five per cent.
The study also looked at fuel insecurity and found that 36 per cent had planned to switch their heating off altogether and 15 per cent said they aimed to spend time ‘somewhere else’ to keep warm.Sixteen per cent also said they would have to ‘borrow’ to pay their bills.
Councillor Roger Croad, DCC’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Communities and Equality, said: “We know that people are struggling with rising costs of energy and food at a time when a lot of households have seen reductions in their incomes, meaning that some people in Devon are not eating properly or able heat their homes. This research helps us to better understand the extent of the problem locally.
“There are a variety of schemes on offer depending on your circumstances and I would encourage people to visit our cost of living webpages to find out more and access support where possible.”
Steve Brown, Devon’s Director of Public Health, said: “This research gives us a fuller understanding of the extent and experience of food insecurity across Devon and how this has changed since 2021, how fuel and food insecurity interact with each other, and the impact of both on local people and their families.
“It will help us determine what local help and support is needed, and where to target that help to support Devon’s residents during the current cost-of-living crisis.”
Devon County Council is working with local partners, including local councils, the NHS and the voluntary and community sector, on ways to support communities.
This fund is to support households that are struggling to pay for food, energy, water bills and other related essentials; especially those who may not be eligible for other Government support.
All children up to year two at state schools in England automatically get free school meals. From year 3 onwards, you may continue to qualify. You can check eligibility and apply on our Free School Meals page. Additionally, families in Devon on low incomes, whose children receive free school meals, also receive school meals holiday vouchers which are funded by the Household Support Fund. To see if your child is eligible for free school meals, or to apply, please visit our website or call our Education Helpline on 0345 155 1019
Devon County Council can award grants of £500 – £3,000 to groups or projects that:
- Address hardship such as food or fuel insecurity, offering warm safe spaces, something to eat and drink, and a place to work, learn or socialise.
- Building community resilience – e.g., guidance on budgeting, cooking low-cost nutritional meals.
- Tackling loneliness and isolation
An annual budget for each elected member to respond to local community issues, such as but not limited to hardship and poverty, loneliness, and isolation in their Division
Devon County Council continues to provide funding to Citizens Advice Devon to provide independent and impartial support and advice.
This programme supports children to eat more healthily, be more active over the school holidays and have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition as well as be more engaged with school and other local services.
Libraries for Life
Libraries across Devon and Torbay are providing warm welcoming spaces, where people can use the free Wi-Fi and computers if they wish to access any of the available online support. Some libraries also have community fridge projects, that make surplus food from local supermarkets available to all for free. Contact your local library or email [email protected] for more information.
For more information visit our cost of living webpages.
New guidance for VCSE Groups supporting food supplies
As food costs continue to rise the current cost of living crisis is causing consumers to look for alternative food supplies. Volunteers and charitable organisations are increasingly looking for ways to provide essential food supplies to those who are most vulnerable.
In response to this, Devon, Torbay and Plymouth Councils commissioned advice from Heart of the South West Trading Standards to offer guidance to help you ensure that the food you supply is safe to eat and meets the necessary legal requirements.
Please read the Devon VCSE Food Guidance
Subsidising fruit and veg could help us all be healthier
A new paper published by researchers at Warwick University have shown that a subsidy on fruit and vegetables would not only help reduce the cost of our food shopping, but would be a huge win for public health.
High prices are pushing people to eat 15% less fruit and vegetables than they otherwise would. This accounts, on average, for one third of the gap between what people are recommended to eat and what they are actually eating.
Prices for healthy food and drinks, and in particular for fruit and veg, have been increasing relative to the price of unhealthy food and drinks for decades. In the UK, taking the inflation rate into account, prices for fresh fruit have increased 29% more than average food prices since 1980, and for vegetables the figure is a whopping 49%.
The researchers propose that, rather than taxing unhealthy foods, we should be subsidising fruit and vegetables. A subsidy of 25% would be enough to stop the price putting people off eating their greens. Their findings suggest that the subsidy would cost the taxpayer roughly £2.5bn each year, compared to the £6bn a year spent on obesity-related illness.
The authors of the report say: “Our findings have obvious and clear policy implications. The [research shows] that there really is no reason to not subsidize fruits and vegetables. Such a subsidy will make society as a whole better off, and by financing the subsidy appropriately (progressively), the policy maker can ensure that these gains are distributed in a fair manner across households of different income levels.”
Bella Driessen, Local Action Officer for the Veg Cities Campaign says: “People have the right to food, and to live a healthy life. In the cost of living crisis, it’s more important than ever that measures are put in place to make sure people can access healthy food. It’s great to see policy proposals that aren’t about punishing people for eating certain types of food, but instead would make healthy food more accessible to everyone.”
Cost of Living Alliance Launched
National charity Community Organisers has launched a Cost of Living Alliance.
The last two years have put untold pressures on local people and communities and there is no sign of this easing with rising inflation causing further economic insecurities for individuals and families. As costs increase, the millions of people living on low incomes are going to further feel the squeeze on their household budgets. The Cost of Living Alliance aims to:
- Build an evidence base of what is happening across the UK
- Define clear areas where changes by government and power holders could make the most to grassroots communities
- Decide on how we can use our collective influence to call for change
They have also pulled together 10 key messages from different alliance members and media so if you need some ideas or statistics to publish/share on social media you can copy these messages and use the hashtag #costoflivingalliance. More information about the alliance can be found on the Cost of Living Alliance website.