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The Children’s Future Food Inquiry

What is the Inquiry?

What children in Britain eat is a major cause for concern. An estimated 4.1 million children are living in poverty in the UK, but we know almost nothing about how many of these children experience food insecurity (the inability to acquire or consume an adequate quality or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so). We don’t currently know how it impacts children’s lives, or what we could be doing to improve their access to food. At the same time children are suffering from record levels of obesity and it is worse in the poorest parts of the country.

The Children’s Future Food Inquiry was initiated to hear directly from children, young people and those who live and work with them about children’s experiences of food and how it affects their lives.  The Inquiry will particularly focus on children who are disadvantaged, and will investigate this challenge in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and is spearheaded by a cross-party parliamentary group.

Can you help us?

The priority for the Inquiry committee and stakeholders over the next few months is to help drive submissions to the evidence portal, which is live from July 16th: https://bit.ly/2zBbpkN. The portal has been built by Leeds Beckett University, has undergone an ethics approval and was piloted in schools at the end of June 2018. If English isn’t your first language and you would like the portal questions asked in another language please contact us directly (details below).

We’d like to hear from anyone who has experiences, evidence or real-life case studies which they would like to share with the Inquiry committee. Submissions may come from children, teachers, healthcare professionals, parents, older siblings, carers or anyone at all who has known or observed children who don’t have easy access to nutritious diets. There will be a series of questions to help guide submissions, and participants will be free to submit short films, photographs, personal stories, reports and data. These will be collated to form key evidence for the Inquiry committee to review.

We’re looking to work with any individuals or organisations who might be able to spread the word about the portal and encourage submissions. If you’d like to support the Inquiry and have networks across which you could disseminate the portal (via newsletters, bulletins, websites, social media or by any other means) we’d be hugely grateful. Ideally, these stakeholders will play central and fully credited roles in what will be a highly collaborative process. There will be numerous opportunities to help direct the national Inquiry beyond the portal stage, including shaping the event which will launch the Inquiry’s report in spring 2019.

We’ll be assembling a package of text, images, logos, links, social media details and other information for our stakeholders and collaborators to share with their networks while the portal is live (it is scheduled to close at the end of September or early October 2018). Sign up to our newsletter to stay posted on the Inquiry’s progress, and please get in touch with pandora.haydon@foodfoundation.org for more information and next steps.