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Robbie Fowler Donation Funds Community Kitchen Trial Academics Think Could Supplement Foodbanks

  • The former Liverpool and England striker has donated £18,000 to Fans Supporting Foodbanks, who will use the funding to pilot a community kitchen in Liverpool.

  • The project has been set-up by Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby, Ian Byrne, and is influenced by the research of Professor Bryce Evans at Liverpool Hope University, who believes communal dining could replace foodbanks in tackling food poverty in the UK.

  • Community kitchens are one of five key demands of the Right To Food Campaign, led by Ian Byrne MP in Parliament:

  • The Scouse Kitchen is inspired by the wartime model of social eating and takes place between Tuesday 11 October and Thursday 13 October.

Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler has thrown his support behind a 20th century-inspired community kitchen initiative a leading academic believes has the potential to change the way we tackle food poverty in this country.

The former Premier League star has donated £18, 000 to help fund a communal dining pilot that a social history expert at Liverpool Hope University says could support or even replace foodbanks as a means of combating the cost of living crisis.

Fowler’s donation will finance the trial of the Scouse Kitchen in his native Liverpool that has been set-up by Labour MP Ian Byrne, who was influenced by the research of Professor Bryce Evans.

Professor Evans, who specialises in modern world history at Liverpool Hope University, has a particular interest in food history and wrote Feeding the People in Wartime Britain, a book which examines the impact of community kitchens that operated nationwide between 1917 and the 1960s.

Mr Byrne, MP for Liverpool West Derby, leads the Right To Food campaign in Parliament, which aims to make access to food a legal right for all and is a co-founder of Fans Supporting Foodbanks, a community project set up by supporters of Everton and Liverpool to tackle food poverty in their city.

Community kitchens are one of five key demands of the Right To Food Campaign and Byrne views the Scouse Kitchen initiative as a pilot for this element of the campaign:

Fowler’s donation will be used to fund food pantries across Liverpool, as well as the Scouse Kitchen trial, which is designed to be a healthier, more sustainable, and less demeaning alternative to the foodbank, where people can sit, eat, talk and ‘break bread’ together.
The Scouse Kitchen pilot takes place at St Celia’s Junior School in Tuebrook, Liverpool, and will be open between 5pm and 6.30pm from Tuesday 11 to Thursday 13 October.

Professor Bryce Evans said:

“The Scouse Kitchen will use the principles of social eating we saw in Britain during the 20th century to trial an alternative way of tackling food poverty.

“Community kitchens were successful during wartime and the years after and they operated in complete contrast to the foodbank model which has emerged in the last 15 years.

”Increasingly, there is a consensus that the cost of living crisis will see our response to food poverty evolve from foodbanks to something resembling community kitchens.

“Foodbanks offer invaluable support to those in need of emergency handouts, but they provide basic food and there is a stigma around using them due to people being required to prove they are ‘poor enough’ to access them.

“Social eating takes a more holistic approach. It allows you to serve fresh, healthy food in a community setting which improves people’s physical and mental health whilst also combating fuel poverty at a time when many foodbank users are reporting that they are unable to use appliances to prepare or store food.

“It is therefore fantastic to have Robbie Fowler’s support for this pilot. He has made a very generous donation and, following Marcus Rashford’s work to tackle child hunger, perhaps we are moving towards a new era of football-based food philanthropy.”

Ian Byrne, Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby said:

“The Scouse Kitchen pilot we are running this week in my West Derby constituency is a much-needed intervention for many families living here.

“I have mums, dads and carers in West Derby who cannot afford to put food on their family’s table, and I wanted to provide this opportunity for them to sit down together as a family in a restaurant setting and eat a meal together in dignity, for free.

“We know that food poverty causes endless problems for children, affecting their educational attainment and life chances and leading to poor health, reduced life expectancy, malnutrition and obesity.

“Food poverty also has a huge impact on human dignity and social cohesion in our polarised nation of foodbanks next to investment banks. Too many of our people experience despair and humiliation every day and my aim with this project is to provide a safe space in which families can eat together in dignity.

“In terms of my longer-term goal of ending the food poverty, I am leading Right To Food Campaign in Parliament, which aims to see an end to hunger in the UK. One of our five key demands is to introduce community kitchens across the country, and I see our Scouse Kitchen as the first step in achieving that.”