Developing a food poverty alliance

There are different approaches to developing sustainable alliances and networks in order to ensure organisational longevity and financial stability.

What is a food poverty alliance?

  • A food poverty alliance is a partnership or consortium of organisations, usually drawn from across the public, voluntary, community, faith and sometimes private sectors, who commit to working together to tackle food poverty in a given geographical area.
  • Alliances can take different forms. For example, some are sub-groups of pre-exisitng food partnerships or have formed following development of a food poverty action plan and some have recently emerged from coordinating responses to Covid-19. Find out more about the different alliances involved in Food Power.
  • Working together can help to coordinate efforts, share practice and to have more impact. The Food Power Collective Impact Tracker is designed to help alliances assess their impact.

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 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 Places 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 Places has a number of useful guides on different aspects of developing local networks:

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