Tai Calon provides access to balanced and healthy diets as food costs soar
As healthier foods are estimated to be three times more expensive per calorie than less nutritious foods, getting support to eat a balanced diet has never been more vital.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics food costs have soared 14% higher in the year to July, with the Food Foundation reporting that one in five households would have to spend almost half their disposable income on food to achieve the government-recommended healthy diet.
Among those who have been disproportionately affected by soaring costs are people living in social housing, including housing association homes.
Across Wales, housing associations work with communities to provide access to healthy and sustainable food options, and support those at increased risk of food insecurity.
Initiatives such as The Blaenau Gwent Food Partnership, established by housing association Tai Calon’s project coordinator Chris Nottingham, are helping residents to continue enjoying a balanced and beneficial diet despite rising food costs.
This scheme supports individuals and organisations to promote healthy, sustainable, and fair food choices. It oversees a range of initiatives across the county, which help communities to access healthy meals, supports residents to grow their own food, and motivates people to learn how to prepare and cook healthy meals for entire families.
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Chris said: “With help from the local community, the Blaenau Gwent Food Partnership is starting a good food movement. Through the partnership, I hope to provide better access to affordable, local food which will in turn reduce our impact on the planet.”
Its key initiatives include the slow cooker club, funded by the local health board, which aims to encourage participants to create healthy, time-efficient recipes for their families. The six-week club now serves 15 households and up to 50 people.
It also runs a community-growing project named Pentref Tyleri, which aims to encourage community-led regeneration of the Tyleri Valley, and supports the sharing of home-grown fruit and vegetables and offers local produce at affordable prices for the community. The onsite café, Caffi Tyleri, also offers free soup every Friday for those struggling with the cost of living.
Other schemes run by the partnership include the Sirhowy Woodlands project, which utilises vegetables grown onsite to run a cooking on a budget course, and apple juicing at the Sirhowy Hill Woodlands and Community Gardens, utilised by schools and local groups.
The Blaenau Gwent Food Partnership has been supported by Welsh Government’s Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales strategy, which aims to prevent and reduce obesity in Wales
Our Cost of Living Hub also provides information on food insecurity and looks at what housing associations in Wales are doing to support people living in their homes.
Find out more about the Blaenau Gwent Food Partnership here.
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