Each year, like all charities, we produce an annual report outlining what has happened over the year, and setting out our accounts and other details of the charity. Our 2020-21 annual report has now been published and you can read it below.
“I want to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to the whole team for the extraordinary support and commitment they have given to our charity and the local community in Bradford. Staff and volunteers have shown incredible determination and dedication. These have been the best of times and the worst of times as we changed direction to accommodate the new work pattern, ensuring that churches, faith centres, community groups and foodbanks could serve their communities. The collective response to the pandemic is something Bradford can be proud of.
From the start of the year we continued to support Bradford’s COVID-19 response: purchasing and supplying food to local foodbanks. We could never have imagined that we would be providing an ‘emergency’ response for over sixteen months, more than trebling our usual throughput of food.
We forged new partnerships. We collected surplus food from cafés, restaurants, supermarkets, wholesalers and other businesses, as well as purchasing stock. We sorted and redistributed over 460 tonnes of produce to dozens of groups in Bradford. We co-hosted meetings on food security and spoke to the national Feeding Britain Network. We taught valuable cooking skills to adults and children – distanced, outdoors, online or however we could. We took a great many phone calls from vulnerable people who spoke to us of loneliness, isolation, illness and financial difficulties.
What has become really apparent this year is that food has taken centre stage and cannot be brushed under the COVID carpet.
The link between eating well and mental health cannot be understated, but affordability is a real barrier to healthy eating. In our Challenge21, run with Bradford Bronte Rotary Club, we invited people to ‘live’ on just £21 for a week, which was what we were being told that customers had left to feed their family after paying household bills. This was a real challenge for participants, both mentally and physically, but it was only for one week: for many people it’s every week.
We welcome the national food strategy recommendations to escape the junk food cycle and protect the NHS, reduce diet-related inequality, make the best use of our land and create a long-term shift in our food culture. This will require bold, coordinated action, with resourcing to back it up, but it is essential in tackling poverty and deprivation, and ensuring that everybody has access to good quality, healthy food.
Our work as an emergency food hub purchasing and distributing food to foodbanks draws to a close at the end of July, but we will continue to work to resource a network of food organisations and charities across Bradford, as well as through our own social supermarket and growing network of FoodSavers projects. These combine affordable access to good quality healthy food with easy access to regular saving and are part of our mission to bring practical support to those that need it most.
The role of charities, the voluntary sector and their volunteers, has never been more vital than in the past year. It has often fallen to the faith sector to lead the way in volunteering and welfare provision and support, and this year has shown that again in Bradford.
2020 was unprecedented in the number of volunteers turning out to support their communities. It was heartening to see the camaraderie on display as people showed up week in and week out to respond to the challenges faced right across the city. As a team, I have never been more proud of our Inn Churches family as they steered a new course of action through the global pandemic.”
Juli Thompson, CEO
You can read or download the full report below.