IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Fair Food Futures UK

This project runs from April 2023 to October 2025 and is funded by National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).


One in five families with children in the UK live in a household where they cannot regularly access affordable and healthy food, known as ‘food insecurity’. This negatively affects physical and mental health. Organisations across the UK called ‘community food assets’ provide support with emergency food and/or by preventing people from needing emergency food, yet only about half of those who need support use a food asset.

This NIHR-funded project brings together researchers from UCL, the University of York and the Bradford Institute for Health Research, with staff from Tower Hamlets (London) and Bradford local authorities, and people with lived experience of food insecurity. The project aims to find out which models of food support are most beneficial to families who do not have access to regular meals in Tower Hamlets and Bradford.

In Tower Hamlets, the project is led by Dr Rachel Benchekroun and Professor Claire Cameron. 

The wider study aims to help local authorities and the national government invest in the most accessible and helpful resources for families who experience food insecurity. The study is linked with the ActEarly Consortium and Fix Our Food.

If you work at an organisation that provides food support and would like to help, please complete our survey.


The project will have several stages which will be mirrored in Bradford, West Yorkshire:

  1. An online/phone survey targeted at those involved in running community food assets that aims to understand what type of support is available, how it is used, and who it is used by.
  2. Workshops and interviews with people either using or working/volunteering at community food assets or working in a related field. This will help to understand how different organisations work together and help to produce a map of the food help system in the area.
  3. A researcher will volunteer at two community food assets for a year. After a few months, the researcher will carry out ‘go-along’ interviews with families to understand what role food assets play in their life. This is an interview where a researcher spends a few hours with a family while they are getting on with their normal activities.
  4. Researchers will interview families who cannot afford food but do not use community food assets, to understand why they do not use them and how they manage to meet their needs. Families will also be invited to share photos and videos of things that are important to them about food with the researchers.

The findings will be shared with local and national government, academics, local organisations and service-users with the aim of improving the system and reducing the need for emergency food support.


Project lead