Posted: 13 / 04 / 2022
Manchester recorded more deaths of homeless people than in any other local authority area in England and Wales in 2017, according to the first national statistics capturing the pattern of deaths among rough sleepers and people living in homeless shelters.
With Manchester holding one of the country’s highest rough sleeping rates, those figures are perhaps not surprising. However, layer on the extra challenges posed by a pandemic and rising living costs with the energy crisis, and the UK is left with a recipe for food poverty.
On the Mancunian streets, however, you can find numerous examples of community-first initiatives looking to support the vulnerable using resources and ingredients that are more readily available than first meets the eye.
One of Manchester’s leading sustainable catering companies is Open Kitchen. This social enterprise focuses on sustainability, waste reduction and producing food in the most sustainable and ethical way possible. The chefs at Open Kitchen work with a range of food businesses to stop good food from being wasted and purchase ingredients, working only with local, sustainable, and ethical suppliers. The ever-changing nutritious, seasonal menus serve up the lowest carbon catering possible, with profits from the business providing food and supplying meals for people struggling with food insecurity across Greater Manchester.
Another Northern-based leading light is homeless charity, Lifeshare – Manchester’s oldest charity dedicated to supporting homeless and vulnerable people in Greater Manchester and Salford. Among other initiatives, the Lifeshare team work alongside local organisations that have surplus food at the end of a day, becoming the conduit to distribute the leftovers to local shelters and street support teams on the same day.
Both initiatives have begun working with the Manchester-based Sedulo hospitality and events team to in order to create support for their projects; something that has grown over the past year.
On the support, Events and Hospitality Executive, Harley Tagg, said:
“I wanted to create something special in business from the start. What I didn’t realise would be most of the problems I would incur would not be hurdles within business, but within myself.
I’m in control of the problems I encounter each day in the business environment; I seem to have a knack of finding solutions for them and they don’t phase me. What I didn’t realise was I’d be in for a rough ride personally and had no answers for the personal challenges I faced. Worse, I had nowhere to turn.”
“With our events calendars coming back – and with our own continual focus on the Sedulo’s internal values – it was vital to build relationships with suppliers that matched our own ethos.
“We had been in talks with Open Kitchen and they have expressed how impressed they are with all of our community and giving back projects and how they would love to work with us on future Manchester events. They recently catered for us at our first time this year and the menus went down really well.
“The added benefit that working with Open Kitchen is helping to combat Manchester’s food poverty problem makes it all even sweeter.”
Lifeshare has also entered into partnership with Sedulo. The relationship sees all surplus leftover from events and day-to-day office life being boxed up and gifted to the charity every week, which is then distributed out to the city’s homeless population.
On the relationship with Lifeshare, Events and Hospitality Executive, Maddie Ham, added:
“Every week we have a little bit leftover, so hopefully what we have and are able to give every week can stop someone from going hungry.”