Mobilising adults, young people and children to improve life outcomes, the work of Heart of BS13 addresses food hardship, improves physical and mental health, and takes action to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis.
Heart of BS13 Kitchen
The Heart of BS13 Kitchen was set up as a social enterprise to help fund our food security work. Since the Covid-19 pandemic we have sent out over 50,000 meals to struggling households in the BS13 area. As the cost-of-living crisis continues – and with food prices rising at record rates – we are still seeing a steady demand for this service, and our pay it forward range generates the finances to meet the ongoing demand.
Our talented chef, Luke, creates beautiful meals in small batches, using fresh produce – some of which is grown in BS13 soil. These meals are then fast frozen to lock the goodness in! Every meal bought supports a household of four people to have delicious high-quality food choices and professional support to tackle the challenges they face. We are thrilled to have our meals in the following stockists: all four Better Food stores, The Public Market, Wild Oats, Lye Cross Farm Shop, 5 Acre Farm Shop, Touts, Source, Jars, Harts Bakery, Batches, Campus Park and Campus Pool Skatepark. Our most recent new stockist is MILA Coffee shop in Sparks.
The data collected from our Covid-19 food response service provided us with a clear understanding of the challenges that our community faces around food poverty. We have analysed this data to further understand the type of support that would have an ongoing impact and have learned that there are a number of key areas that we should address if we are to effectively tackle food poverty in BS13.
These areas include support for disabled households experiencing food poverty. To address this, we have created a mobile food shop to support households that cannot access high quality, reasonably priced produce, and a slow cooker project to specifically address food and fuel poverty. We are also set to launch our Child Healthy Weight Programme in September 2023 ‘Get Healthy, Stay Healthy‘ in conjunction with local GPs.
Heart of BS13 Mobile Shop
In BS13 Hartcliffe and Withywood is recognised as a ‘food desert’, a place in which it is difficult for people on low incomes, or without access to transport, to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. This has motivated us to develop a Heart of BS13 mobile food shop, selling a combination of ready-made, high-quality meals from our kitchens, plus fresh fruit, veg and other staples like bread, milk, dairy, eggs and meat. The bike will also sell our affordable loaves – called ‘Just Bread’ – that we worked in partnership to develop with the brilliant bakers Hart’s and Batches.
Our new Heart of BS13 e-cargo bike will enable us to stock and sell good-quality healthy food and locally grown produce to local people whatever their income. We’ll have riders delivering on regular rounds to streets in Hartcliffe and Withywood, similar to the butcher or fruit and veg vans that used to make weekly visits to neighbourhoods. The new bike arrived with us recently and we are planning to launch in July 2023!
Slow cooker project
In January 2022 we started a new slow cooker project, offering a fuss-free way to cook healthier meals, in large batches that can be eaten that day or frozen for a later date. They are very energy efficient, so offer an affordable way to cook.
We worked with 10 families in BS13. Some had used slow cookers before, but not for ages. For others, this was a completely new way of cooking. Each family was given a brand-new slow cooker to keep, and a recipe and ingredients for one big family meal per week. We checked to see how they were getting along and if they needed any extra support.
The aim was to offer new ideas and recipes, and help to build confidence for those who may not always enjoy cooking or have the time. The project was a great success – and so we secured funding and ran it again with a further 20 new families in November 2022. My role as Food Programme Manager for Heart of BS13 is to take evidence-based ideas and develop them into practical initiatives to challenge food poverty in the BS13 community. Aiming to have real impact, these project examples are just a small snapshot of the work we have planned.
To learn more about what we do, visit our website and sign up for our monthly newsletter at the bottom of the home page.