‘Whatever we got, we were grateful for’: Food, care and support during times of austerity and Covid-19 social restrictions

Authors: Alison Briggs*, University of Manchester
Topics: Human Rights, Gender, Feminist Geographies
Keywords: Food insecurity, Charitable Organisations, Care, Support
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 40
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The ability to acquire or consume an adequate quality, or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways has become a widespread problem for growing numbers of Britain’s population since 2010, following the global financial crisis, ongoing austerity policies and welfare reform. Consequentially, as already vulnerable households have experienced a significant decline in income, poverty, food insecurity and hunger have intensified across the UK and food banks have become a familiar sight in cities and towns. In the absence of any formal, government response, charitable organisations have risen to the challenge of meeting the needs of their local communities.
Covid-19 has exacerbated vulnerability to food insecurity and resulted in significant increases in the numbers of adults and children needing emergency food aid in the UK. The pandemic has also impacted upon my research through the suspension of face-to-face activities, although regular contact has been maintained with the families whom were recruited previously. This has been invaluable for providing insight into how food insecure families were managing during this challenging time. Early findings illustrate the vital role performed by volunteers and local community organisations in providing food, care and support to families in both the context of food insecurity and Covid-19 social restrictions and also highlight the challenges facing these organisations in relation to continuing their community care.

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