The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, has launched a new scheme designed to support healthy eating and tackle food poverty for families on low incomes.
The Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg project, set up by the Alexandra Rose Charity in 2014 has received funding from the Big Lottery Fund & Esmée Fairbairn to expand the project into Liverpool. Liverpool was one of two cities to receive the funding after applying through a national competition to host the scheme last year.
The Rose Voucher project helps families on low incomes to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, while developing the skills and confidence to give their children the healthiest start in life.
The project works with local children’s centres to identify families who could benefit from the scheme. The vouchers are worth £3 per child (or double if your child is under one year of age) and can only be redeemed for fresh fruit & veg from participating retailers. In Liverpool the scheme is working with local community interest company ‘U R What U Eat’ who run fresh fruit & veg stalls in Liverpool’s hospitals as well as mobile fruit & veg buses that visit areas of the city where easy access to fresh healthy food might be a problem.
The project will initially run in partnership with Granby & Belle Valle Children’s Centres and will support up to 240 families. It is hoped over time the scheme will spread to other children’s centres in the city and will partner with further retailers including Liverpool’s local markets and traditional green grocers.
Jonathan Pauling, Chief Executive of Alexandra Rose Charity, said: “We are delighted to be bringing the Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg project to Liverpool. It’s all about early intervention – preventing diet related health problems and supporting children from the youngest age to enjoy a healthy life.
“Children’s Centres benefit by making contact with families and the money goes directly into the pockets of independent retailers – supporting a healthy, local, food economy. Above all, children get access to healthy food which parents might otherwise not be able to afford. Thanks to the generous funding from the Big Lottery Fund & Esmée Fairbairn we hope we can help break down the barriers for achieving a healthy diet.”
Lord Mayor, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy said: “The Rose Voucher project is a great way to tackle childhood obesity and food poverty in our city. It not only increases the amount of fresh fruit & veg that families consume but it also puts money back into Liverpool’s food economy supporting local jobs and improving access for all.”
Councillor Nick Small, Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member with responsibility for children’s centres, said: “The vouchers will work in tandem with our existing offer to support families to adopt healthy lifestyles in the crucial years before school starts. With additional support such as cook & eat classes and weaning workshops that we already run we hope the vouchers will give our families that little extra spending power so they are more able to adopt a healthier diet.”
The project was launched at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital at one of the fruit & veg stalls run by U R What U Eat. The launch also featured one of their big buses that will transport fruit & veg to locations across L8 & at Belle Vale to enable families to purchase the fruit & veg with the vouchers. Vouchers will also be able to be redeemed at stalls at hospitals across the city including the Royal Liverpool Hospital, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the Women’s Hospital.
Robert Clarke, Chairman of the Liverpool Women’s Hospital said “We are delighted to support such a fantastic initiative that will give so many families across the city access to much needed fresh fruit and veg.”