Developing a food poverty alliance
How can a food poverty alliance's work be sustainable?
There are different approaches to developing sustainable alliances and networks in order to ensure organisational longevity and financial stability. Networks, partnerships and alliances that are most successful in this area do so by:
- Ensuring that sustainability is a shared responsibility among member organisations, rather than for example relying on an individual such as the alliance coordinator, as well as proactively develop the skills of others as part of delegation or succession planning
- Striking the right balance between forming a ‘coalition of the willing’ and reaching out to those who are harder to engage
- Considering sustainability beyond finance, for example considerations should also factor in maintaining relationships and reviewing an alliances’ shared vision
- Maintaining an alliance’s momentum during periods of lower periods of funding and/or activity, for example commitments to continue arranging meetings through in-kind support
- Ensuring that an alliance can both deliver projects, but also feedback experiences to shape local and national policy
How are food poverty alliances developing sustainable activities?
There are a number of examples of how alliances in the Food Power network are developing their approach to sustainability:
- Leveraging Food Power financial support to bring in more match and/or in-kind funding
- Using Food Power financial support and advice to build a robust evidence base and action plan to make a strong case to other funders for further support, including implementation or roll-out
- Engaging other potential funders in discussions about activity supported by Food Power, including building on activity when Food Power support ends
- Developing a consortium approach with member organisations agreeing to develop and seek funding for joint projects
- Considering whether the alliance could develop into a Sustainable Food Cities partnership
- Taking action to open up under-used assets or resources even where this may not immediately benefit the alliance financially, for example low uptake of welfare benefits, Healthy Start vouchers and free school meals or underuse of local services and venues
Further advice on sustainability of alliances, partnerships or networks
Sustainable Food Cities has a number of useful guides on different aspects of developing local networks:
- The Food Partnership Structures Guide includes examples from around the UK and practical advice for establishing a partnership
- The Financial Sustainability Guide and Funding Strategy Workshop Outline provides detailed advice on funding opportunities and implications
- The guides on Developing the relationship with the local council and Identifying local authority policy levers provide advice on developing relationships with local councils
The Big Lottery Fund has a number of resources offering advice on partnership working. The Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation has produced a concise briefing on partnership working which includes helpful prompts and case studies.