Banking on a meal - food bank engagement, Lewisham

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Summary of report content

As a result of significant numbers of people in Penge seeking help from the Living Well project offering a food bank, drop in lunches and a community garden, Healthwatch launched research focussing on the health needs of those at risk economically or identified as vulnerable in Bromley and Lewisham during early 2016. The study was conducted by Healthwatch’s Community Engagement Officer who visited 5 food banks across the two boroughs. Attendees were interviewed as were the community providers of food banks. Key findings included that those suffering from financial hardship were more likely to suffer from lower standards of physical health and mental wellbeing, that zero hours contracts and unsecure employment often left people without sufficient resources to support themselves and their families. Additionally lack of communication between services meant people were prone to falling through gaps, especially with benefit processing. GP registration was restricted due to the lack of a permanent address also. Recommendations included: increased promotion of community support services and food banks, further support and advocacy for those suffering financial hardship, additional council support for those struggling to live independently, increased awareness of the consequences of zero hours contracts, enabling basic health reviews for those not registered with a GP, promotion of 111 as a free route to health care, improved awareness among clinicians regarding the difficulty for many in accessing services. Responses from providers and commissioners were largely positive.

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General details

Report title 
Banking on a meal - food bank engagement, Lewisham
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Lewisham
Date of publication 
Thursday, 1 September, 2016
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 February, 2016
Type of report 
Local analysis
Key themes 
Food and nutrition
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
Unstructured Interview
How was the information collected? 
Visit to provider

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details about conditions and diseases

What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Other population characteristics 
Homeless people
People with limited family or social networks
Does the information include public's views? 
Not known
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
Not known
Does the information include other people's views? 
Not known
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Not known

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Not known
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.