A converted double decker “Food Bus” will provide fresh food to tackle poverty in Lambeth and Wandsworth

A converted double decker bus bringing affordable, fresh food to chronically underserved areas will soon be on the streets of Wandsworth and Lambeth.

The Food Bus will contain an on-board shop and café, and stop at four different locations each week, with the aim of improving residents’ access to healthy food and easing at least some of the pressure on household budgets.

A regular shopping basket of goods will be available to buy at a fraction of its usual cost, with much of the food being sourced responsibly from retailers’ surplus stocks.

Designed by Jan Kattein Architects, and fitted out by Building BloQs, the Food Bus is a joint project between Be Enriched, Feeding Britain, and the Wandsworth Food Partnership, that is set to begin serving residents within the next month, with plans for more Food Buses in other parts of the country.

Judy, The Food Bus driver

Kemi Akinola, Chief Executive of Be Enriched, adds: ‘Throughout 2020 we have continuously seen the inequality healthy divide widen and those at the bottom of the scale have been the worst hit.

“Providing emergency food for families in Wandsworth and Lambeth has provided immediate relief to hunger, but doesn’t solve the problem of poverty.

“The Food Bus is an alternative retail model that can be part of a strategy to build a long term and sustainable solution to the chronic food insecurity and poverty in the boroughs.”

Andrew Forsey, Director of Feeding Britain, adds: ‘The pandemic has placed a huge amount of pressure on people’s health and household budgets, as well as their ability to put food on the table.

“The Food Bus aims to bust these unjust consequences of the pandemic, so that everyone is able to access and afford the food they need for a healthy existence.”

Jan Kattein, of Jan Kattein Architects, adds: “This is an incredibly innovative and much needed service.

“With so many food shops in London, it’s easy to forget that they’re not accessible to many
low-income families.

“The Food Bus was designed to transform the all too common concern of bringing food to the table, into a positive and convivial experience.”

At the outset, the Food Bus will run a limited service in line with COVID-19 restrictions. As well as
providing affordable, nutritious food, the Food Bus will eventually become a hub for services within
the community.

There are plans for partnerships with services such as Citizens Advice to provide a broader support package for residents.

The project is receiving generous funding from the Mayor of London and the London
Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) through the Good Growth Fund, DWS, Esmee Fairbairn
Foundation, Sarah Dent, Wandsworth Council, L&Q, and Mercers’ Charitable Foundation.

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said: “We are pleased that the
Good Growth Fund has supported this innovative approach to tackling food poverty. The Food Bus is
a great example of how we can support opportunities for access to healthy, affordable food in our
local communities.”

Pictured: left to right – CEO Kemi Akinola , chef Carl, deputy project manager Carlota, and bus driver Judy 

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