We need a welfare state that sees food as a right

Camden council leader Georgia Gould.

Camden council leader Georgia Gould. - Credit: PA/Lauren Hurley

After an incredibly difficult year and a Christmas spent away from loved ones, many of us will be looking forward to a better 2021.  

And there are some rays of hope; a roll out of the vaccine, more accessible testing and the continuing care and compassion of frontline workers and communities.

However, there is still a long way to go. Cases continue to rise across London and Camden, and in many ways we have reached the hardest moment of the pandemic at the time everyone is most exhausted. Following the public health advice has never been more important as hospitals are straining from the impact of the high numbers in our community.

And as we look forward we face an economic crisis as large as the public health one. 

Covid-19 has impacted us all, but not all equally. 700,000 people have been estimated to have been pushed into poverty by Covid-19.

Sadly the pandemic has resulted in job losses and many have fallen through the gaps of support.

Children in our communities are going hungry, parents are skipping meals so their children can eat and there are people struggling to afford the absolute essentials. 

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Between March and May the number of universal credit claimants in Camden doubled.

No child should go without food and as we start to recover from this pandemic we need to campaign for a welfare state that sees food as a right. This means wages that leave families able to afford food and a safety net that gives everyone security.

We will have been truly successful when there are no foodbanks in our community.

In the meantime, however, we need to support each other through a tough winter.

Every Camden resident now lives within half a mile of a community food hub – each of which is offering a lifeline in the absence of national policy change. 

Community groups are not only putting food back into cupboards, but also bringing people together and helping to build local resilience.

Camden Council have been proud to partner with community organisations throughout the pandemic to help provide nearly half a million meals.

To ensure that no one is left behind this winter we are asking for your help by joining the Covid Community Campaign. 

Together with Dame Louise Casey, the mayor of London, London Councils and our charity partners – The Trussell Trust, FareShare, Magic Breakfast and Social Bite – we are making sure that no one in London is left without the support they need this winter as we work towards a long-term solution to rising hunger. 

By visiting covidcommunitycampaign.co.uk you can find out how you can support food hubs in Camden or make a donation to support food charities working in the borough and across London this winter. 

Giving even a little will make a big difference. 

And if you are struggling to access food this winter visit https://findfood.camden.gov.uk/

There is no one who has not needed some extra help at some point over the last year and I am proud of the way Camden has come together to help each other. I know this will be no different as we have always been a community that leaves no-one behind.

  • Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council.

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