What’s On

Walk for Poverty – 10 November 2018

The Power to Youth Team walked from Darwen to Blackburn to raise the profile of child poverty and food poverty in the Borough.  They presented a letter to Councillors in both Boroughs asking them not to introduce policies which make child poverty worse – and if they have to because of government cuts, then to ‘roar and rage’ against these.

The Power to the Youth Team  comprises a group of National Citizenship Service members at InterMadrassah who have been dedicating their social activity to child and food poverty. 

They started at Darwen Town Hall at 12 noon and finished at Blackburn Town Hall at  2.30 pm.

This forms part of a wider movement where young people are discussing food poverty and its effect on children.  Together Lancashire and Food Power have held a series of workshops, and it is so encouraging to have young people helping to drive the response to child poverty. 

The Youth Empowerment Forum will continue this work throughout 2019.

 It’s a Poor Do! Challenging Food Poverty in BwD – Confererence 24 October 2018

BwD Food Alliance was launched across the borough at its inaugural conference on 24 October 2018.  We explored how we can work more effectively together to address food poverty, and in particular child food poverty.   Our audience comprised civic, faith and third sector leaders, indeed all had an interest in ensuring our children and families are fed – and fed well. 

‘I was so pleased that everyone there took the issues raised to heart,’ said Gill Beeley, who is leading the drive to form the Food Alliance.  ‘there is a strong commitment to forming a movement of those with different interests and priorities to ensure that we can respond to calls for help in our communities.’

As well as launching the BwD Food Alliance as a movement, those present agreed that we need to collect information about all the responses to food poverty – whether crisis food provision or cooking, eating together or policy making.  These responses will be worked up into a Good Food Plan (a food poverty action plan) for the Borough, which will meet the needs of our families and communities.  The Care Network already hold much information, as do the community connectors, and we will work with the Care Network to make sure this information is readily available to anyone who needs it.

Professor Dominic Harrison painted a powerful picture of the scale of challenges facing the borough, working the chain back from child food poverty to poverty more generally.  He spoke of the low wage economy, poor housing stock, the impact generation on generation of circumstances which made it difficult to escape poverty.  The impact on health and mental health especially means it is difficult for a significant number of people to find work.  His presentation is here.

A key theme of this conference builds upon previous conferences regarding child poverty.  We only have one childhood – we have to make sure that as a community we provide our children with the best possible start.  This means providing good food;  knowing how to cook, having the means to cook.  We showed a powerful film of young people in Darwen (from DAES School) who talked about their experiences of going hungry.  

As we understand more about food poverty in BwD, we will raise awareness of issues regarding food poverty/sustainability. Not least we will campaign for change, and be a voice for the vulnerable people in BwD.  This conference has already provided a platform to amplify our concerns.  We aim to continue to ‘rage and roar’ as well as listen and respond in our communities.

For more information about the Food Alliance, contact Gill Beeley at  gillian.beeley@together-lancashire.org.uk.  To find our more about the alliance’s work, keep an eye on this website.  


The Darwen Group meets regularly  and has done some pioneering work with the Darwen Enterprise Academy; we are exploring how we can poverty proof schools.  This is being driven by learners, and is changing the culture in the school.

Next meeting will take place in early 2019.

To be kept informed of our meetings, the conference and our other activities please follow our facebook page.