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Tackling poverty – Jonathon Lees

This week, our guest speaker was Jonathon Lees from The Good Food Company.  Epsom & Ewell Foodbank is one of several projects overseen by this company. Jonathon is the founder and managing director. Jonathon spoke about the different aspects of the company. The foodbank is a starting point and a first port of call for people to seek supplies of food and other essential items such as nappies and toiletries.

By November 2022, over 10 years, the foodbank will have fed over 50,000 people. Most people only visit the food bank 2-3 times but there has been an increase recently with 44 new clients visiting over the past month.   

The Good Company are working with Citizen’s Advice and Chris Grayling, Epsom MP, to deliver the Epsom and Ewell Energy Support Scheme. They offer advice and support to enable people to pay their energy bills.  This is particularly important in the current energy crisis which is potentially driving people into poverty.

They are working with 160 refugee and asylum seeker families in the area.  As well as food, they need support in understanding their bills and debts as English is not their first language. 

Jonathon gave a call to action by talking about the # End Poverty Pledge. The onus is on organisations and business to support their local communities by agreeing that: 

  • Everyone in our community should be able to afford life’s essentials.
  • Those struggling financially should receive respect and compassion. 
  • It is up to all of us, as a community, to help tackle poverty. 

In the video, below Jonathon describes one of the first steps people can make after using the foodbank. The Epsom Pantry was set up to support people to feed themselves and to live independently.