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Needy can bank on surgeries for food support

Date published: 23 April 2019


NHS surgeries across Greater Manchester will be aiding poverty-struck patients by having food banks on their premises.

Thanks to an initiative called Homeless-Friendly, which has already fundamentally changed the way practices treat rough sleepers, boxes of food and essentials will be placed in some of the region's surgeries.

With recent research with teachers showing that 57% of children were showing signs of hunger, Homeless-Friendly founder Dr Zahid Chauhan believes practices can help alleviate the social stigma of poverty and the dire health problems associated with poor diet.

Dr Zahid Chauhan said: “I see for myself each day the mental and physical effects of poverty. And that includes in Great Britain in 2019, malnutrition.

“Perhaps people will say that we have come to a pretty point when practices have to try and help feed the hungry. But with community centres disappearing and pubs and places of worship closing, they are one of the last remaining hubs of the community.”

Homeless-Friendly practices as far afield as Rochdale, Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bolton, Bury, Gorton, Manchester and Stockport will be encouraged to place a box within their surgery.

Practices will then:

  • Ask their patients and staff to supply food and hygiene products going forwards
  • Clearly display a poster about the foodbank, stating what kind of items are required (including information on sell-by dates and ring-pulls)
  • Work with their local authority to make sure that food supplied is edible
  • Nominate a member of staff to manage the food bank

That member of staff will also discretely note who is using the foodbank and if they have any worries about a particular patient's health and well-being, report those concerns to their GP confidentially.

Homeless-Friendly supporters in the borough of Rochdale: 

  • The Dale Medical Practice – Nye Bevan House, Maclure Rd, Rochdale OL11 1DN
  • Hopwood Medical Centre - 1-3 Walton Street, Heywood OL10 2BS

Dr Chauhan said: “It has been well documented what the impact of a non-nutritious diet is in terms of obesity, but the disastrous results of not eating or poor nourishment also needs addressing.

“More than that, it is morally repugnant that any person should the lack the means to feed themselves.

“By having a foodbank, surgeries are not only improving health but taking a lead in raising awareness of the crippling poverty many people are now living in.”

Homeless-Friendly is a charity dedicated to reducing health inequalities and improving services for the most vulnerable, including rough sleepers. Participants are asked to pledge to provide a Homeless-Friendly service, whether they be charities, health carers, hospitals, local authorities or businesses.

Make your pledge today by visiting www.homelessfriendly.co.uk/join-us

For a full list of Homeless-Friendly supporters go to:

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