Early career researcher Hannah Lambie-Mumford's research on emergency food provision in the UK has provided policymakers, the charitable sector and media with thought-provoking evidence to inform the food poverty debate.

Impacts

  • The research findings shaped the terms of reference for the April 2014 All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into hunger and food poverty
  • Lambie-Mumford co-authored the research report Household food security in the UK: a review of food aid (February 2014), commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • She was appointed to the Child Poverty Action Group's (CPAG) Policy Advisory Committee in February 2014
  • Lambie-Mumford was appointed a Registered Specialist in food and poverty at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in September 2013
  • Research evidence was given to Public Health Wales, the NHS in Scotland, the London Assembly’s Health and Environment Committee, and Sheffield City Council's Public Health team
  • Research findings were used in the flagship report Walking the Breadline from Church Action on Poverty (CAP) and Oxfam May 2013
  • Lambie-Mumford joined the advisory group of Oxfam, CPAG and Church of England for research into food poverty and food banks January 2014.

"Hannah Lambie-Mumford's clear and well-articulated understanding of the issues arising from her PhD research have been invaluable in helping us shape not just our thinking on the issues, but to have a substantial impact both on local practice and national policy." (Niall Cooper, Director, Church Action on Poverty)

About the research

Food banks and other forms of emergency food provision are a rapidly growing phenomenon in the UK. The first rigorous appraisal of this emerging issue is being provided by Hannah Lambie-Mumford of the University of Sheffield as part of her ESRC-funded PhD.

Her investigation of the rise of the Trussell Foodbank Network and FareShare, two UK charities involved in providing emergency food supplies, is informing policymakers and charities about the demand for, and operations of, emergency food initiatives.

"The research came at a time when policymakers, NGOs and the media were starting to take notice of the rise of these initiatives and thinking about how to react and respond," she points out. "It has provided them with some of the scarce evidence currently available, and so my work has been drawn on by national and local policymakers as well as the media."

Crucially, Lambie-Mumford's work is also raising wider issues that go beyond the provision of emergency food aid. "Emergency food projects are a response designed to alleviate the symptoms of food poverty, but they do not address the root causes of food poverty," she points out. "The research is helping to raise issues concerning the underlying causes of food poverty in the UK higher on the policy agenda."

Working closely with churches and other organisations involved in food assistance projects on the ground, Lambie-Mumford is also stimulating debate on the practical ways churches can think and act around food poverty. "Volunteers are well aware of the wider issues of food poverty and have unique insight into what’s happening in their communities," she says. "By engaging with volunteers as well as national organisations, the outcomes of this project are also helping people think 'beyond food banks' to other ways of tackling food insecurity in their local communities - such as campaigning on living wages, getting involved in credit unions or lobbying their local authority to prioritise issues of food poverty."