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Towards Greater Food? Taking Stock of Food Support in the COVID-19 Crisis

A BSA Early Career Forum Event

9-10 September 2021

About the Event

COVID-19 has brought to light the severity of economic inequalities by testing the capacity of the poorest families to make ends meet. Food insecurity has in fact soared all over the UK, with many people forced to rely on food support providers not to go hungry. Community and support groups, food bank networks, food pantries, food clubs, and warm meal providers all played a central role throughout the crisis since the first lockdown in March 2020, by quickly adapting to the new pandemic conditions in order to respond effectively to increasing users’ demand. At the same time, these organizations had to face new challenges and obstacles that profoundly affected the way they used to operate before the virus outbreak.

By focusing on Greater Manchester, this two-day event aims to take stock of the many ways food providers, mutual aid groups, and food support programs tackled the COVID-19 crisis by giving voice to spokespersons and directors of several third-sector organizations that have been on the frontline during the crisis. By doing so, the event aims to open up a broader discussion about the role that food support provision and community programs play in the UK welfare state and more generally in the fight towards a more sustainable, inclusive, and healthy food system. At the same time, the event aims to draw together third sector representatives, community organisations and academics to discuss the role that social research can play in such a fight, while providing a networking platform to explore potential research opportunities between academics and the third sector.


Day 1 – Thursday, 9 September 2021 from 9.30-12:30

  • Introduction
    Filippo Oncini, Sustainable Consumption Institute, The University of Manchester
  • Food support provision, food poverty, and the emergency response: a general overview
    Joanna Hill, Greater Manchester Area Manager in conversation with two food banks from the Trussell Trust network - Patsy Davies from Manchester Central Foodbank and Aaron Burns from Fallowfield and Withington Food bank
  • Trust House pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 response
    Katie Jenkinson, Centre Manager of Trust House Whitefield
  • FareShare Greater Manchester through the COVID-19 crisis
    FareShare GM

Day 2 – Friday, 10 September 2021 from 09:30 - 12:30

  • Introduction
    Filippo Oncini, Sustainable Consumption Institute, The University of Manchester
  • The Independent Food Aid Network through the COVID-19 crisis
  • The impact of COVID-19 on the supply of healthy lifestyle opportunities: the cases of OASIS and SMAC
    Jack Carney, co-chair of OASIS-GB (Obesity Awareness Support and Information Service) and senior coach at SMAC (Salford Metropolitan Athletic Club)
  • The role of mutual aid groups during the COVID-19 crisis: the case of Greater Manchester
    Thomas Waring, HOUR Manchester Project Coordinator at Macc
  • Conclusions and greetings

Read the speaker bios.


The event fees are as follows:

  • BSA members: FREE
  • Non-members: £10

It will be possible to provide subsidies for ECRs, PhD students, those on low-incomes or without institutional affiliation. Please enquire to Filippo Oncini if required.

A Zoom link will be sent to you beforehand, along with instructions on how to join for those of you new to Zoom. We hope you can join us.

This event is sponsored by the British Sociological Association and by the H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship (Grant Number 838965).