Everton Football Club and its official charity, Everton in the Community, is backing the fight against food poverty in Liverpool and the UK by supporting the ‘Right to Food’ campaign.
Led by MP and Fans Supporting Foodbanks co-founder Ian Byrne, ‘Right to Food’ aims to enshrine in law and clarify Government obligations on food poverty. A motion supported by the Club will go in front of Liverpool City Council this evening and will call for the ‘Right to Food’ to be incorporated into the Government’s ‘National Food Strategy’, the first independent review of England’s entire food system for 75 years.
If the ‘Right to Food’ pledge is approved by Liverpool City Council, it will see Liverpool become the UK’s first ‘Right to Food’ city, and the campaign will work with supporters and partners nationwide to bring more towns and cities on board.
Everton has joined organisations and businesses across the city in signing the ‘Right to Food’ pledge in full support of the campaign.
People across the UK are also being invited to sign the official Right to Food petition on the UK Government and Parliament website. The petition was moved by the Fans’ Supporting Foodbanks National Network under the name of Everton supporter Dave Kelly with co signatories from Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Birmingham and London.
Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Chief Executive at Everton, said: “The ‘Right to Food’ campaign is a vital measure to tackle the stark realities and challenges currently facing communities in our city and across the country, which have been exacerbated further by the pandemic.
“Through the Club and Everton in the Community’s Blue Family COVID-19 response campaign, we are only too aware of the sheer desperation of thousands of people who simply cannot afford basic food to survive. This heart-breaking reality is completely unacceptable in 2021.
“The Club has huge admiration for Fans Supporting Foodbanks and fully supports the ‘Right to Food’ campaign and the city’s quest to become the first ‘Right to Food’ city.
“There is no finer city than Liverpool when it comes to showing solidarity and supporting those most in need. The combined efforts of everyone in the fight against food poverty is going to be vital as we move forward.”
During the first lockdown in March, Everton in the Community mobilised its Blue Family campaign, working with partners across the region to support those most in need, In the past ten months, the campaign has delivered in excess of 14,000 emergency food parcels and provided more than 25,000 meals for school children, participants and local residents. The Blue Family Campaign stepped up its efforts again this month when the country entered its third national lockdown.
Richard Kenyon, Director of Marketing Communication and Community and CEO of Everton in the Community, said: “Everton and Everton in the Community have worked closely with Fans Supporting Foodbanks, and partners across the region to tackle food poverty. We have seen the wider-impacts of food poverty on individuals and families first-hand and by working with partners we continue to offer our support to as many people as possible through our Blue Family outreach campaign during the global pandemic.
“’Right to Food’ has the potential to bring about vital change in how food poverty is both tackled and understood and we, as a Club and Charity, are proud to be supporting Ian Byrne MP and everyone at Fans Supporting Foodbanks in this campaign.”
The Trussell Trust reported an 81% increase in emergency food parcels from foodbanks in its network during the last two weeks of March 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, including a 122% rise in parcels given to children as the coronavirus pandemic continued to unfold.
Ian Byrne, Labour MP for West Derby, said that the latest figures on food poverty “are simply devastating for one of the richest nations in the world and highlight the level of inequality in the UK in 2021”.
The MP also said that “The council motion will call for the ‘Right To Food’ to be incorporated into the Government’s ‘National Food Strategy’ with the aim of identifying the food system we should be building for the future with a plan for how to achieve that vision.”
Everton and Everton in the Community have worked closely with Fans Supporting Foodbanks on their matchday foodbank collections for the past five years. Pre-pandemic, approximately 25% of food donations for North Liverpool Foodbank were collected on matchdays at Goodison Park and Anfield.
Learn more about the Right To Food campaign here: https://www.ianbyrne.org/righttofood-campaign