Empowering experts by experience

"When you are hungry, you get angry, anger changes behaviour. If I share my experiences, then others can share theirs and it takes a weight of their shoulders."


We believe that those who have faced the adversities of food poverty have unique expertise, assets and perspectives that can help local food poverty alliances better develop strategic and long-term solutions. Whether managing on a tight budget, making difficult decisions of purchasing food or fuel, or knowing when and where to get preferred food, experts by experience have important insights of what works and doesn’t in everyday life.

Food Power supports alliances to empower those with lived experience of food poverty to become experts by experience. Our aim is for experts by experience to become embedded at a strategic level for the long term, so they are able to influence projects, policy and services locally and nationally.

There are many ways for alliances to start exploring this, such as oversight and scrutiny of analliance, facilitating their own activities or in the development of a food poverty action plan. We are working in partnership with experts by experience to co-design methodology and tools which can allow for meaningful involvement, reflecting on successes and challenges to adapt approaches for different demographics and geography.

Food poverty alliances can take action by:

  • Involving experts by experience not only at the delivery level of work but in the strategy and governance of the wider alliance, and in the co-design, delivery, implementation and evaluation of activity and/or interventions as well. This could include forming an experts by experience steering group or supporting those with lived experience to facilitate workshops with their peers.
  • Equipping and supporting experts by experience to talk about food poverty publicly at events, conferences, workshops and in the media, at both a local and national level. This could include setting up a forum in which individuals can share their thoughts and feelings with decision makers locally or making a short film about people's experiences.
  • Listening to how those with lived experience of food poverty want to be involved, being flexible and taking steps to address barriers to participation, for example by ensuring accessible venues, events are at appropriate times of the day, paying travel, providing refreshments and offering childcare where appropriate.

Contact Ben Pearson to learn more about Food Power's work in this area.

Listen to our webinar on empowering experts by experience



Food Power
C/o Sustain
The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
E2 9DA

0203 5596 777

Food Power is a project of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming.

© Sustain 2020

Registered charity (no. 1018643)
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