Flintshire Food Enterprise and the Food Poverty Response (Confidential Appendix to Agenda Item Number 6)
- Meeting of Organisational Change Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Monday, 9th September, 2019 10.00 am (Item 26.)
Questions on Business Plan
Councillor Geoff Collett complimented the team on a really good presentation. He referred to the time a family took to prepare a meal had reduced from 2 ½ hours to 6 minutes which highlighted there was a need to educate people. He felt this was a generational thing with children not engaged with cooking.
The Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Countryside referred to a visit to a green food bags project in Mold where they had to put instruction cards on how to cook vegetables in the bags. She agreed there was a need to teach Children how to prepare food and peel vegetables etc.
The Benefits Manager explained the social enterprise model was designed to cover all areas of food insecurity from food equipment, knowledge and skill, affordability and time to cook. She provided information on the Liverpool model and said this was not food aid but a long term change. She added that people in crisis who were hungry could not deal with the other issues going on in their lives.
The Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Assets agreed with everything that was being said and recalled his childhood where domestic science was a big part of school and that at home the grandparents taught their grandchildren how to cook and bake. In contrast there was now a reliance on convenience foods, home deliveries of readymade meals etc.
Councillor Johnson agreed and was in favour of the social value aspect and added there was the issue of fuel poverty. He referred to the convenience store at the top of the Holway where people had to struggle to carry large items whilst dealing with a pushchair or walker. He asked was there any way to incorporate the delivery of the larger items within this service and ensuring access to public transport.
The Benefits Manager responded to say this was not something that would be considered at this stage but this could come out of the community resilience work and referred to what Councillor Mullin said about families or neighbours looking out for each other. Maybe the outcome of the community resilience work would be asking the convenience store if they would deliver.
The Chair referred to the foods that have no nutritional value at all and reported on an experiment in the 1960s where rats who ate the fast food boxes did better than the rats who ate the fast food. Maybe it needed to be highlighted how little nutritional value there was in these fast foods.
Councillor Jones wondered what the difference between nutritional and dietary value. He referred to the food selection on page 75 of the report and asked if the committee would have an input into the ingredients. He also asked if food had fewer preservatives would it have a shorter shelf life. With obesity concerns over sugar rich diets, high carbs, pastries and cakes it may be it should be stated that this was what we provided if you want these then we don’t provide them. The Benefit Manager said the pre-prepared meals had the oxygen removed when they were sealed and that stays fresh in the fridge for 8 to 10 days so preservatives would not be used. The model was about engaging with communities
The Chair commented this had been a good debate but we were not here to scrutinise in the normal sense but to look at ideas and bring ideas forward.
Councillor Jones sought the Chair’s discretion to discuss his concerns with committee regarding leisure centres. Welsh Government had recently decided to cut the free swimming grant which was provided to Flintshire who then distributed to the leisure centres and this impacted all Leisure Centres. Holywell Leisure Centre would receive £10,000 less next year but because it was not part of Flintshire it also meant Holywell would also be losing £5,000 in November. Cambrian Aquatics and Aura would be also affected. This year’s business plan would prove very difficult. The Minister may have cut the grant to Flintshire but they were also cutting the funding for Charitable Organisations too.
Councillor Jones would be writing to the Minister to raise their concerns but wanted to inform the Committee of the situation.