Lewisham residents are organising a Right to Food rally to raise awareness of hunger in Lewisham and the need for London to become a “right to food” city.
Organisers want as many local people as possible to join them as they walk from the Downham Co-op through Catford town centre to Lewisham Clock Tower where there will be speakers in support of the rally.
Some 1 in 4 Lewisham residents face food insecurity and over 2 million Londoners cannot afford sufficient food.
In 2020-21 421,000 Londoners relied on foodbanks, charities, faith groups and community groups for food, with Lewisham alone having over 40 local faith groups, food banks and community groups providing essential support.
The UK is a wealthy country, but millions of people rely on food banks to make sure that their children get a square meal. Many of these parents are in work. It is estimated 11 million people are living in food poverty.
Event organiser, Anne Williams, founder of the Parent Support Group, a parent-led group for parents/carers with young people, says: “As a volunteer in a local food bank we are seeing the devastating reality for people forced to rely on food aid to get by.
“There is no longer a choice between heating and eating, families are struggling to afford either.”
Anne says the rally is being organised to “raise awareness of the impossible situation families find themselves in and the incredible lifeline that community groups provide for people who are struggling”.
Rally organisers are calling for regional and national changes to ensure people have access to sufficient food by London becoming a Right To Food City. They want the government to enshrine the Right To Food in law.
The Right to Food campaign was started by Ian Byrne, a Liverpool MP, and is now supported by a host of twons and cities across the country including Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Brighton, Durham, and Newcastle.
A Right to Food law would make the government responsible for addressing the raging income inequalities and the broken benefits system which has pushed so many into poverty
MP for Lewisham East and founder of the Whitefoot and Downham Community Food Plus Project Janet Daby, will open the rally. She says “Lewisham has committed to be a Right To Food borough and “we would like to encourage other boroughs and counties to follow their example”.
The government “needs to take urgent action to ensure that every family has enough money to heat their homes and sufficient food to feed their families this winter.
“Enshrining the right to food in law would ensure the government is accountable to these commitments.”
Organisers want people to join the rally on October 1 at 12pm, meeting at Co-op food carpark (next to bus stop S) 431-435 Downham Way, BR1 5HR. For more information contact Anne Williams email@example.com