Fresh food for struggling families thanks to Bradford's Oastler Market and Inn Churches partnership

Article dated Friday Jul 14, 2023 at 12:22 PM

Bradford Council’s Oastler Market has been working in partnership with Inn Churches to deliver a food voucher initiative to help struggling families to buy fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish.

The £5 vouchers, which have been distributed via Inn Churches through their cookery school, the Food Saver Network and to individuals in need, can be used in any of the fresh food stalls at the Oastler Market.

Inn Churches have worked in partnership with Bradford Council and Sainsbury’s Nourish the Nation programme to deliver this project.

Soraya Overend, from Inn Churches, said: “To date the vouchers have helped over 120 families and young people to purchase fresh ingredients they simply couldn’t afford or never had the confidence to purchase before as they weren’t sure how to cook with them.

“This scheme gives those in need access to fresh food and the choice to buy the ingredients used in the recipes they’ve learnt with us, so that they can replicate the dishes back at home for their family. The vouchers scheme we have been operating with Bradford Council’s Markets Team over the first half of the year has gone so well we are relaunching this in the Summer.

“This has been a brilliant way of getting fresh meat, fish and fruit and veg to our customers that have been challenged by the cost-of-living crisis. A “cash” first approach using the vouchers is key to supporting our members to access their own choice of food offers and dignity in a financial crisis.

“The response from our customers and the market traders has been incredibly positive. A huge thank you to Khansa and the Markets team with running with this for us.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “This scheme not only benefits those in need by giving them access to healthy fresh food but also the traders at the market. Many have seen repeat businesses from those receiving the vouchers.”

Keiley at DaleFarm, said: “We have noticed many new faces in the market food aisle since the roll out of the food vouchers. We have served new customers and it is a great initiative to help families and vulnerable adults who are struggling with the extra cost of food. Every customer who presented a voucher was a new face so the vouchers have supported an increased footfall to our shop.”

Ash Mahmood at Solly’s Fruit and Veg, said: “It is always a pleasure to partner with Inn Churches Cooking Hub who have provided practical support to those that need it the most across the district for many years and have pulled in small businesses like ours to create a doubly beneficial package in these economically challenging times. Many new customers who have presented these food vouchers have commented that they had never visited the market before and were not aware that we had fresh fish and meat, two fruit and vegetable stalls, a deli, pies and more all under one roof. The great news is that we have seen these faces again since and that is a direct result of the food vouchers.”

Neil Priestley from Priestley Fishmonger said: “I would say we are one of the shops in the market food aisle that has benefitted the most since the food vouchers were first rolled out. Bradford is a very diverse city and it is amazing how many new families have visited us with these vouchers and were surprised that we had a great selection of fresh fish that is commonly used in their cuisine that supermarkets do not always stock. Red Snapper, Monk Fish and Tilapia have been very popular with our new customers.”

Food Savers Network’s Conference Food for Health Not Wealth taking place on 20 July at the Jubilee Centre, Jermyn Street between 10am and 3pm and is open to anyone who wants to find out more about all the great work that is going on to support the Good Food Agenda. Speakers include Andrew Forsey from Feeding Britain, Tim Howells from Public Health, Tess Wilkins from Food Savers, Nathan Atkinson from Rethink Food, representatives from My Living Well and Kitty’s Kits. For more information visit:

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