Nourishing Norfolk features in report for tackling hardship

The new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation examines how local communities can ‘design out’ poverty at a grassroots level

Poverty in the UK is deepening. Over the last 20 years the proportion of people in poverty pushed into very deep poverty has grown. Extreme forms of hardship, such as having to rely on charity to be able to eat or stay warm are increasingly commonplace. The report asks what it would look like for a local area to do everything it can to ‘design out’ the most severe forms of hardship, to ensure no one ever experiences them.

The report highlights the real potential for local areas to ‘design out’ the most severe forms of hardship through community-led activity. JRF used our example of Nourishing Norfolk to demonstrate how power can be shifted to the people with experience of poverty to co-design solutions that work for those who need and use them. They also draw attention to the fact that services need to direct people to the right support at the right time, and how pathways for support must be designed with this in mind.

At Norfolk Community Foundation, we are committed to working alongside communities to ensure everyone in Norfolk has the chance to lead a good life. By actively engaging with and listening to communities through research programmes, funding and support, we can begin to address the concerns raised in this report. The report details how small, community-based organisations all over the country are innovating and piloting initiatives that seek to undermine deeply embedded poverty through grassroots action. Norfolk’s charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises are no exception. While we focused on Nourishing Norfolk, initiatives like Together for Women and Girls, our Ukraine programme, and other movements for wider change within communities demonstrate our county’s commitment to designing out hardship and striving for a brighter future.

Nourishing Norfolk

Two people stand outside Dereham Food Cabin, a purpose-built social supermarket with a central double-door
Dereham Food Cabin

Nourishing Norfolk gives local people the ability to respond proactively within their community to emerging need in a sustainable way. The support is easily accessible, with barriers like means testing removed to ensure people can get support at the right time – before they fall into crisis. The hubs act as a focal points that catalyse further action and develop solutions that address deep poverty at its root whilst keeping communities in the driving seat. This powerful initiative is developing a strong network of support and services to help prevent people from experiencing severe hardship now and in the future.

“There is an urgent need for action in response to the growing number of people affected by deepening poverty.”

Joseph Rowntree Foundation