Last updated 22 September 2023
Faith leaders tackling cost-of-living head on
Faith leaders meet to discuss how to support residents during the cost-of-living crisis.
Councillor Mark Hunter, Leader of Stockport Council, opens the Interfaith Roundtable event.
Last week, faith leaders from across the borough met to discuss how food poverty and financial hardship can be tackled in Stockport, against the backdrop of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
The event was formally opened by the Leader of Stockport Council, Councillor Mark Hunter, with a speech which recognised the contribution of faith groups to supporting residents, particularly over the winter period last year. The council has already extended its free school meals programme for the academic year 2023/24, which will ensure that over 900 additional young people will be able to access a paid for lunchtime meal each day of the school term. However, Councillor Hunter recognised that there is more that can be done, and emphasised the importance of working together in partnership to maximise the help available to all residents.
The Interfaith Roundtable event was the inaugural event to relaunch the Multifaith Network, which is chaired by Reverend Raj Patta. High on the agenda was the role of the Multifaith Network in addressing food poverty across the borough, with many faith groups taking responsibility for providing food to their communities and other vulnerable people in Stockport.
Speakers from the faith community included the Bishop of Stockport, Niall Cooper (CEO of Church Action on Poverty), Ghulam Ali (South Manchester Muslim Community Organisation), Rachel Bresnahan (Stockport Food Network) and Jeff Bradley (Food Ready Every School Holiday scheme). Stockport Council Chief Executive Caroline Simpson was also in attendance, alongside faith leaders from a wide range of different religions.
An informative discussion took place, with many ideas generated on how the Multifaith Network can work alongside the council to reduce food poverty and financial hardship in Stockport.
Councillor Mark Hunter, Leader of Stockport Council, commented: “An issue of this urgency, such as food poverty, requires support from every sector working across organisational boundaries to deliver wrap around support to the people in our borough who need it most. It was great to meet with the Multifaith Network to discuss this and other important issues related to the cost-of-living crisis. I look forward to continuing to work closely with our faith sector, who already do so much in their communities to support residents at this difficult financial time.”
The council is committed to providing support for residents during this challenging time. The cost-of-living hub rounds up the support available for everyone. Residents can also call the cost-of-living helpline for advice and support on 0161 474 2140. The line is open Monday – Friday from 9.30am – 4pm.