Towards the end of 2010, conversations started amongst different initiatives that were delivering immediate provision to the homeless community in Leeds, around how they could work together more effectively. These discussions included John Walsh from York Street Health Practice, Jo Smith from Street Outreach, Chaplain of St Georges Crypt Steve Dye and Alison Beckwith from Streetwise. The discussions resulted in the forming of the Homeless Mapping Document. This document detailed the times of a number of different services, organisations, churches and groups and enabled front line workers to signpost vulnerable people on effectively, particularly when people needed to access food. The document was produced by Unity in Poverty Action (UPA) and Suzanne Hart from St. JJ’s Homeless and Hungry initiative. In 2013, an official Homeless Coordinator role was set up and taken on by Mary Halsey and Dave Paterson from UPA. This involved helping initiatives work together that were delivering immediate provision to the homeless, including food aid assistance.
In the autumn of 2013, former councillor John Hardy and the Chief Officer for Welfare and Benefits started discussions with different food providers that were tackling food poverty in the city, to see if some kind network could be established. This resulted in Leeds City Council providing substantial start-up funding for the setting up of Leeds Food Aid Network (FAN). The first official meeting took place in January 2014, at the Civic Hall and the start of the Network was marked by a visit from the Lord Mayor and Mayoress in April 2014 followed by a brief photo shoot. Follow the link below this paragraph to read a short article in the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Leeds FAN focuses on stimulating more effective signposting, both to food providers and helping people access longer term provision. Where ever possible we want to be able to resource initiatives that are allocating food. As well as small allocations of financial resourcing, we aim to encourage more effective distribution of food across the city, particularly through FareShare. Finally, a key aim is to see better interaction and communication between all the different people, initiatives, institutions, businesses, churches, mosques, temples etc… that are involved in tackling food poverty in the city of Leeds. I hope you find this website useful and may we all be able to work together to effectively deal with food poverty in our city.
Unity in Poverty Action (UPA)
Leeds Food Aid Network (FAN)