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Coronavirus – information and advice for VCS food projects

The following information has been developed to provide advice and guidance to community food projects operating in Islington.

General non-food related advice on responding to COVID-19 for the voluntary and community sector and community centres can also be found here.

How Islington is responding to food needs

In many cases, Islington residents may not need help with accessing or affording food at this time. However, for those who need additional support, there are a range of options to ensure that nobody goes hungry:

  • Community food projects form an important part of the food offer for residents in Islington. An up-to-date interactive map of community food projects, which are being supported by the council, is available here
  • Information and support with food are also available from the council, government, and mutual aid groups

Support on offer for community food projects:

Requests for emergency food parcels can be redirected through the We Are Islington helpline. 

Contact details for We Are Islington: 

020 7527 8222

weareislington@islington.gov.uk 

A COVID-19 food network group has been set up on WhatsApp to share information on local business offers and surplus food. Community food projects can request to join this group by emailing partnerships@islington.gov.uk and providing their name, organisation and number.

Food hygiene and safety

To ensure that community food projects can receive and deliver food safely, guidance has been produced by the Environmental Health team in Islington. Please refer to the guidance document for advice on stock rotation, temperature control, cross contamination, allergens, pest control, cleaning and delivery. You can receive a copy of this by emailing partnerships@islington.gov.uk

The current government guidance for food businesses on coronavirus can also be applied to community food projects. The guidance includes practical advice on social distancing measures, which apply to everyone. Staff, volunteers and residents collecting food should maintain a distance of 2 metres between each other and should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds and more frequently than normal. Posters are available to support this.

Some community food projects are including a disclaimer note in their food parcels. An example which other projects can adapt can be found here.

Good food

The following guidance has been produced to support community food projects to provide good food which is nutritionally balanced and culturally appropriate:

Food Co-operatives

Islington Food Poverty Alliance is working with Cooperation Town to support residents across the borough to start their own local food co-operatives. A food co-operative is a group that comes together to give people access to food at affordable prices. The term food co-op describes different approaches, but in Islington we are encouraging residents to join or start up their own food buying groups. Each co-op is owned and run by its members. The group decides on what items the group wants to buy and how much each member should contribute. By pooling the money, co-ops can purchase large amounts of food at wholesale prices. As a co-op you can also register with local shops, supermarkets, restaurants and food suppliers to get deliveries of surplus food.

Anyone can start or join a co-op with their neighbours, school network, workplace or anyone local to you. Co-ops are led by their members, but the Islington Food Poverty Alliance is here to provide guidance on getting started. There are lots of ways to get involved:

Register your interest: Please fill in this short form to register your interest, and the organisation nearest you will get in touch to support you. If you are unable to fill in the form you can email MGAssistance@manorgardenscentre.org or call 07483 149519.

Share the opportunity with others: Please find attached a leaflet to share with other residents. Islington Food Poverty Alliance can also provide details in other languages or over the phone.

Find out more: Free training is available to residents and frontline staff across the borough on the co-operative model. All the dates and sign-up details can be found on this Eventbrite page.

Connect with others: You can join the Islington Local Food Cooperatives Network Facebook group to start chatting to others in Islington who might be interested in starting or joining a local co-operative.

Volunteers

If you require volunteers to support your work please contact Voluntary Action Islington by e-mailing them at volunteer@vai.org.uk.

The council has devised a process to DBS check the volunteers responding to COVID-19. If you need support with obtaining a DBS check please email sophie.neal@islington.gov.uk

Guidance for volunteers on how to help safely can be found here Coronavirus: How to help safely

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