It’s a Scandal – the extraordinary story of Family Food Action

A pandemic success story!  This is the remarkable story of how local resident Emily Ryan began a weekly food collection from her front room in St Andrews, in response to Covid – and 18 months later, with the help of neighbours and friends from 40 streets around Bristol, was helping to supply up to 400 families per week.  

The food donations grew so huge that the collections, previously run from Emily’s home, had to re-locate to The Ardagh Community Hub on Horfield Common. This is the phenomenal story of how Family Food Action grew from one house into a community-wide network – and continues to make a significant impact on food poverty in North Bristol. 

“You don’t know what you can do – until you get together with other people”, says Emily Ryan, Founder of Family Food Action. “It’s started new conversations up and down our streets and built connections between diverse neighbourhoods and communities in our city.” 

To document the story so far, the team filmed over six months, It’s a Scandal that reveals the anger and frustration felt by many people that Britain has some of the worst levels of food poverty in Europe, despite it being one of the richest countries in the world. Personal interviews reveal why people feel it is so important to donate food.  

“People are genuinely suffering” –  Richard. “ It’s a real failure by governments over many years” – John.  

“I feel I need to do something to help because I’ve because I’ve found it difficult in the past, and know how it feels, it could be any of us”– Barbara. 

“The idea of people going hungry doesn’t appeal to me in a country that can plainly afford enough food for everyone” Chris.  

“I’ve been on the receiving end of kindnesses in the past, I know how it feels when you struggle” – Caroline.      “It’s a very direct help, going directly to people in need” – Hilary 

The film shows how amazing quantities of fresh food are donated each week, how it is sorted and delivered to Family Food Action’s partners – including St Pauls Children’s Centre, The Vench and The Felix Rd Adventure Playground – where up to 100 children a day come in the summer holidays to eat at Nirmal’s kitchen.   

“All these community centres value the fresh fruit and vegetables we supply, because families are so hard up,” says Emily Ryan. “It’s a scandal that national social and economic policies are forcing hardship on such large numbers of families.” 

Family Food Action believes that these problems are not going to go away and what started as a temporary response to the pandemic looks certain to certain to continue for the foreseeable future.  

The story of how Family Food Action came into existence – and grew exponentially – serves as a dramatic reminder of what communities can achieve when they get together. It could serve as a model for other cities across the UK.  

To view the trailer click here 

To view the 16 minute film click here 

Email: [email protected] 

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