IFAN is a network of independent, grassroots food aid providers working together to ensure food security for all. There are hundreds of food aid providers across the UK that have no national representation and we believe that by bringing them together we can can create a powerful voice for change.
We've consulted with lots of food aid providers across the country to finalise our aims before we launch. Here is the final list:
IFAN exists to:
Work to create a society where there is food security for all and food aid is no longer necessary.
In pursuing these objects we will:
Download a bigger document explaining our aims and values in more detail.
Membership & Structure
Participation in IFAN is open to all food aid providers who share its Objects and Values in Practice, but on the understanding that participation in the network by projects/organisations which are members or franchisees of, or affiliated to, other organisations is subject to these organisations/projects acting as individual entities rather than as representatives of their ‘parent’ organisation. Full membership (including voting rights) of IFAN is restricted to food aid providers that are entirely independent and that agree to abide by its shared Objects and Values in Practice.
IFAN is managed as an initiative of Project Agora, a charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with Company number 4430518 and Charity Registration number 1110788. IFAN has its own dedicated steering group who are responsible for its strategic development.
A group of people involved in local food aid provision have come together following an event held in Manchester in March 2016. This event brought together 40 food aid providers to find out what they wanted from a new UK network.
The event was very successful and led to the inaugural steering group meeting of IFAN in May 2016. This group is made up of people directly involved in food aid at a local level, none of whom represent any national organisations.
After drafting a set of aims for the network, a survey was sent to food aid providers to get their views, enabling us to launch the network with a set of aims that we know truly represents those of our members.
What are the aims of IFAN?
IFAN exists to:
In pursuing these objects we will:
Who is behind the development of IFAN?
The development of IFAN is co-ordinated by founder Seb Mayfield and Steph Ellis (formerly a project manager at Oxfam GB), with support and guidance from these steering group members:
Jon May – Bow Food Bank
Liev Cherry – Bow Food Bank
Chris Sunderland – Real Economy Food Co-op
Nadine Daniel – Hope+ Food Bank
Fiona Carr – Your Local Pantry (Stockport Homes)
Bryce Evans – Manna Community Kitchen
Mohammed Mamdani - Sufra NW London
Is there a need for a new network?
IFAN has consulted with many food aid providers in the lead up to the launch of the network, including holding an event in Manchester in March 2016 and sending out an online survey in May 2016. Ninety-two percent of the food aid providers surveyed told us that they wanted a network for the following reasons:
Work to create a society where there is food security for all – 97.8%
Provide mutual support, and share resources, amongst food aid providers – 95.7%
Share best practice – 95.7%
Improve provision for, and access to, people in need of food aid – 93%
Campaign for change – 91.3%
Provide a forum and a collective voice for independent, grass roots food aid providers – 91.1%
Work with and promote the voices of people in need – 88.6%
Promote critical open-access research – 88.4%
One of the key reasons for wanting to launch IFAN was the concern that food aid is becoming increasingly institutionalised in the UK, with food banks and other food aid providers being relied upon to feed people. We recognise that many people who work hard to provide food aid are far from happy with this situation and are keen to have a platform to be able to voice these concerns and call for wider systemic change that eradicate the need for food aid. IFAN aims to be that platform.
Is food security for all a realistic aim?
The current situation needs to improve in a number of ways if we are ever going to see food security for all and we recognise that this is an aspirational goal rather than something that will happen any time soon. However, we believe that it’s important to send a bold message about the direction of travel we want to head in – if we don’t believe it can happen then it definitely won’t.
Why refer to the network as ‘independent’?
The steering group chose to include the word ‘independent’ to reflect the fact that first and foremost we are a membership organisation for local food aid groups who are independent of any national organisation.
By referring to the network as being ‘independent’ we are also demonstrating that we are prepared to take our own position on issues as and when necessary, in consultation with our members.
Is IFAN in competition with the Trussell Trust foodbank network?
IFAN is not trying to compete with any other national organisations, let alone the Trussell Trust. We simply recognise that many food banks have chosen to not join the Trussell Trust network for a variety of reasons but are keen to be represented at a national level. There are also lots of food aid providers that are not food banks, and therefore don’t fit into the Trussell Trust model, that would like to be part of a national network.
IFAN is in regular contact with Trussell Trust and looks forward to the possibility of working together in the future, as and where desirable.
What is IFAN’s relationship to the National Food Poverty Alliance?
IFAN is a member of the alliance and will continue to support its work where the aims and values are consistent with those of IFAN and it’s members.
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