Tower Hamlets Council leads the way in food poverty - scooping Sustain Award

Tower Hamlets Council received the Cross Cutting Leadership Award in both Beyond the Food Bank and Good Food for London themes today, recognised for its stewardship across many areas.  

Leadership was achieved in Food Poverty alliances, Food Poverty action plans, Cash-first responses to food security, Food access for BAME people, Healthy Start, Free school meals, Holiday activities and food. The council was also recognised for its joined-up action across Good Food economy, Food growing, Climate and nature emergency and food. 

The ceremony was held Tuesday 28 March 2023 at the Abbey Centre in Westminster with Dominic Hinde, Acting Head of Tackling Poverty, receiving the award. 

The Good Food for All Londoners report, published by London Food Link, part of food and farming charity Sustain, reviews council action on food under two key themes: tackling the root causes of food poverty and supporting residents to buy and eat affordable, healthy and climate-friendly food.  

Below are a few examples of the projects that have gained recognition: 

Healthier food environments 

  • Food For Health: Since 2009, the Food for Health (FFH) award scheme recognises food businesses that implement healthier options for their customers 

Good food economy  

  • Excellent collaboration work across the council on food poverty and engagement with stakeholders such as housing associations and community groups 

  • The Tower Hamlets Food Hub redistributes enough food for 20,000 meals into the borough each month delivered by Felix Project. Felix Projects also delivers 25,000 direct to other front line organisations distributing food aid 

  • The council has been funding partner charity Family Action for two and a half years to deliver six food pantries across the borough 

  • Two Fruit and Vegetable Voucher Schemes have been introduced for residents on low-income 

Food growing  

  • Community Garden Programme is funding six growing spaces in the borough and is working with the Women’s Environmental Network on targeting more diverse communities to apply for the funding 

Food and climate  

  • Partnered with the Felix project last summer to distribute surplus food through our Holiday, Activities and Food (HAF) club to families attending the programme. On top of the offer of a free meal that each club provided as part a basic HAF provision, the equivalent of 11,838 meals were received by families in Tower Hamlets 

This year’s Good Food for All Londoners report shows more Londoners have access to affordable, healthy and sustainable food as Tower Hamlets Council stepped up in challenging times.  

Tower Hamlets have also taken on a joined-up approach to create a healthier, more sustainable, and equitable food system.  

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: 

“We are so pleased that our efforts across many areas of food provision and accessibility have been recognised.  

We plan to keep building on these priorities, particularly during such difficult economic times to ensure that those most vulnerable still have access to healthy food in the most sustainable way possible.” 

Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive at Sustain said:  

“London’s councils have a critically important role to play in ensuring that all Londoners can eat well Where access to healthy and sustainable food is prioritised, our city is prosperous, green and thriving. Community gardens flourish, children and older people are well fed, and money flows to local food enterprises, building economic resilience.

The Good Food for All Londoners report shows what can be achieved when we set our hearts, minds and policies to achieving a better food system. It is now our duty to make this work for everybody, not just for those in boroughs showing leadership.”  


View the full report.