Union launches campaign in Wigan to provide food lifeline for people in need

A trade union has launched a pilot project in Wigan to highlight the importance having good food and offer advice and support.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 12:30 pm

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) had a stall in Wigan town centre to tell people about the initiative and hand out tea, coffee, soup and cakes.

National president Ian Hodson attended the launch, which could be rolled out to other parts of the country if it proves to be a success.

He said: “We have quite a number of members who are keen to help out in their community.

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The union’s campaign launch, including president Ian Hodson, centre

“Wigan seemed like a good place for us to start to learn the skills we will need in other places in the country to help them.”

Through the project, trade union members are building relationships with members of the community and finding out what support they could offer. This could be employment advice, help with zero-hours contracts, debt management and other advice. Other organisations are involved to provide help when needed.

Mr Hodson said: “We are looking to run, on a weekly basis, this stall in the middle of town where we will give away tea, coffee, cake and soup to people and talk about the issues that people face.

“We want to find out what support people need and if we can, give them assistance and point them in the right direction of services.

“We want to build up support and help people through this financial crisis we are about to enter. There are a lot of support services out there, but if people don’t know where they are and how to access them, they might struggle to get there.”

After finding out what people need, the trade union will hold drop-in sessions and other events at Sunshine House community centre to offer that support.

They hope to be able to answer people’s questions and provide information about help available in Wigan.

Depending on the success of the stall in the town centre, these sessions at Sunshine House could begin as soon as next month. The project is also backing the national Right To Food campaign, which seeks to ensure everyone has access to decent food.

Several football clubs have held food collections for their local food banks and pantries and organisers hope to speak to Wigan Athletic about doing the same.

There are also plans to speak to members of St Stephen’s Church about how to help to get food there.

Mr Hodson said: “People are struggling and with the energy crisis and everything else that’s coming all at once, people are going to face the choice of whether to eat or heat their home.”

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