The day opened with a welcome from the Chair of NJPN, Anne Peacey. Patricia Stoat, Chair of Nottingham Justice & Peace Commission, welcomed us to the diocese and led us in prayer.
The main input was from Peter and Shirley Yates – FareShare East Midlands
FareShare redistribute surplus food to charities and community groups that distribute food to vulnerable people. They launched 10 years ago in the diocese of Leicester (CofE); addressing homelessness and destitution in the area. They started out as a group of 20 people in groups and using borrowed vans to distribute food. The main problem they experienced was that too much of the same type of food was being donated. They presently have 1 full time member of staff and two warehouses supplying 240 community groups.
According to WRPP estimates, 1,900,000 tonnes of food are wasted in the U.K. annually. FareShare manages 4% of edible surplus food available, equating to 13,552 tonnes. One of the reasons for the waste is due to consumer demand / choice; different people have different tastes and retailers, due to incorrect forecasting, can oversupply certain lines. Other reasons include, packaging errors, short date coding, seasonal stocks, deleted lines retail rejections and manufacturing mistakes.
End Hunger U.K. estimate that 1 in 4 skip a meal due to funds, 1 in 4 worry about not having enough to eat and 1 in 8 have gone a whole day with no food. There are more children and adults struggling to feed themselves compared to 4 years ago, (source, Joseph Rowntree).
Nationally, there are 21 FareShare depots in England and Northern Ireland. Overheads are expensive taking into account the rental of vans and warehouses. Running costs are covered partly by grants and membership fees from community members. They work with many of the major food retailers including Tesco, Asda, Co-operative, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, M&S and Waitrose. Locally in Derbyshire, Public Health has funded a number of programmes to kick start a sustainable food poverty strategy working in conjunction with the local authority.
Without FareShare some homelessness charities would not be able to meet daily demand for meals, FareShares’s work also allows charities to better utilise their own resources. Rose Hill Junior Youth Club reported that they are making a saving of about £9000 per annum.
Peter advised it’s his opinion that ultimately, local government remain responsible for addressing food waste. There is a need to challenge the structures and systems; the political arm of our society’s infrastructure. However, a distinction needs to be made between ‘politics’ and ‘party politics’.
Peter recommended that the Church Urban fund was the best resource to use to find information on local statistics; the CUF being a Church of England commission.
There was then an opportunity to share on upcoming campaigns and events
CAFOD drew attention to the Lent Fast Day on 23rd February, themed on nutrition programs in Zimbabwe. This will be match-funded. Also, the new Share the Journey campaign, which is an international campaign, led by Caritas Internationalis, on migrants and refugees and the Climate Coalition’s Share the Love campaign on climate change. People were encouraged to wear the Green Heart.
Nottingham Diocese – J&P Commission have a 2-year plan for a ‘Real Living Wage’ and plan to write to parishes to ask if they are paying the Living Wage presently. They suggested that all dioceses should consider this approach, also, to look out for / offer support to existing campaigns that back the Living Wage who may not be from a faith group but support the ‘Common Good’.
CARJ had reported that they had been informed that none of the collection from Racial Justice Sunday this year would go to them, but to Bishops’ Conference for their projects. Parishes wishing their collection to go to CARJ should send it direct to them.
In the afternoon there was a Presentation from Nottingham J&P Commission by Patricia Stoat, Chair of the Commission.
The Diocese of Nottingham has a large university population, aerospace and arms industries are also a large employer. Nearby Loughborough, hosts a major refugee re-distribution centre, as such, the diocese is a ‘dispersal area’ for refugees. Parishes in the diocese tend to focus on issues in their individual cities due to the geographical location in relation to its neighbouring counties and diocese.
A particular focus in the diocese is towards the prevention of forced labour / modern day slavery and trafficking which is particularly prevalent there. The diocese has launched a Modern Slavery Project requested by the bishop which has been supported by their safeguarding team. Speakers from various agencies including The Medaille Trust, Derbyshire Police and Margaret Shanahan – Tribunal Judge have given presentations on the subject. Margaret Shannon’s insight was particularly helpful as she explained the decision- making process behind leave to remain asylum case with the Home Office.
They were working with ‘Hope not Hate’; Nottingham City Council has provided funding to support the project.
There is funding for a fieldworker and they are in the process of recruiting; the bishop is keen on the position focusing on modern slavery.
There was a discussion concerning the dynamic connection between Justice & Peace Commissions, parishes and individuals. It was suggested that the present model may not be the best as each Justice & Peace group are focusing on plurality of issues, maybe too many. It was suggested that an intelligence gathering exercise to find out who does what in each parish relating to justice & peace could be useful. It was thought that we could benefit from the Anglicans in this area as they have more experience to draw from. Patricia advised that Nottingham diocese is however exceptionally diverse at several levels and hence more difficult to collate this information comprehensively. Another member felt that Interfaith Dialogue is difficult due to the diversity of faiths. Projects need to be linked in order to be communicated to the Bishops. It is important to know and understand the priorities of individual parishes.
Members then had the opportunity to hear about the work of NJPN Exec and Working Parties since the last Networking Day, and to ask questions.
Facilitators FareShare were thanked for their attendance and their thought provoking presentation.
Members shared a wealth of information and came away with a renewed awareness of opportunities for action, through networking and the presentations. Some initiatives will no doubt be moved forward as a result of the day.
Paul Gourdan, NJPN