Food Banks in the News (again)

Thought we’d share a few links to stories relating to food banks. We’ll be posting a lot more of these I fear…


Manchester Evening News reports how food banks are not the answer to food poverty.

The Guardian report on the return of rickets to the UK as poor families can’t afford fresh fruit and veg.

Luciana Berger in The Independent slams Michael Gove for his ignorant comments on why people use food banks.

“an entire generation is being destroyed by a diet of junk food and sugary drinks” This report on the BBC website.

A stencil for Streetlife

After a few visits and getting to know the good people of Streetlife, we were asked if we’d like to help out with their mural project. Something, it was felt by staff, was needed to make the area by the Centre’s bins a bit nicer!

Not that the outside of the place is particularly grotty anyway, its been recently turned into quite a nice garden. But everyone feels that it needs something of a statement, an artwork.

Graffiti is the order of the day (very popular is street art in Blackpool) and although it’s not exactly why we’re here, we have the skills and are willing to give it a shot. Anyway, here is the design for our bread stencil.

Our stencil for the Streetlife centre - got a bit of a thing about Hovis at the moment!

Our stencil for the Streetlife centre – got a bit of a thing about Hovis at the moment!


Welcome To The Base

A recent engagement exercise (not carried out by Engine we hasten to add!) asked the people who use Blackpool’s Streetlife Centre – The Base, what was important to them about the drop in centre that helps young people at risk in the city. They drew this doodle. When we saw it we were really struck by the central image – outstretched arms offering bread and water. Sometimes it feels like nothing has changed in centuries, even in supposedly developed wealthy countries like England. People who have nothing and need help never ask for much. When they have to seek charity, what they need is things that are a basic human right: shelter, the company of others, bread and water.

this is what users of Blackpool's Streetlife Base drew about the centre, what was important to them: bread and water.

this is what users of Blackpool’s Streetlife Base drew about the centre, what was important to them: bread and water.

Fish Fingers…..but for how long!

Do you remember the old Bird’s Eye fish finger ads on TV?  I used to love watching the old sea Captain as a kid. Jai told me that ‘Bird’s Eye’ focus on advertizing chicken dippers now……… Cod must be getting very expensive as we continue to catch it and eat it to oblivion.

I wrote this about one of my own favourite dishes some time ago…………


Dead on my plate,
A cod or at least a slab of one,
Not the head nor the tail but the loin,
coated in beef dripping.
Vinegar and salt on it,
my cod, my fish from the ocean,
The Atlantic, vast, cold and deadly.
Taken by a man in a boat, in huge waves,
his life on the line but he brought it back for me,
my cod, or at least my slice of it.
Gutted, boned and fried.


On The Dole

Seeing as, almost inevitably, a project I am involved in relating to food has brought up the subject of bread and beer, it seems appropriate to record here the ancient English tradition of ‘Wayfarer’s Dole‘. Growing up as I did near Winchester in Hampshire I might have known about this sooner, but it wasn’t until I ended up living outside on the hillside above The Hospital of St. Cross (during the 1990’s protests against the M3 Extension through Twyford Down) that it was drawn to my attention. If you call at the Porter’s Lodge and ask for Dole, they’ll give you a small piece of bread and a little cup of beer, the cup is traditionally made from horn. This early form of charity or alms for poor travellers used to delight us ‘Eco-Warriors’ and we’d always be popping down and introducing others to the free offerings. Helping those in need, with a small portion of something you have in abundance. Call it ‘dole’ or ‘welfare’ or ‘handouts’ is something people have quietly done without judgement in England since before the country was even called that. IMG_0660.JPG