The soaring rise in food costs over the past few years has seen the most vulnerable in society being the hardest hit. We visit Be Enriched, the South London based charity, that provides not only freshly cooked, nutritious meals, but the chance to bring people together to enjoy the food.
As the saying goes, ‘food brings people together’ — which is exactly what Kemi, founder of Be Enriched, aims to do by fighting social isolation and food poverty at the same time.
Every week the charity feeds dozens of people in South London with all the surplus food that would normally go to waste.
Approved by the British Nutrition Foundation“We’re really thinking about how we can enrich people’s lives,” says Kemi Akinola, CEO and Founder of Be Enriched. “So it’s not just about food nourishment, it’s also about building community, building knowledge, and also developing community cohesion across the board. So enriching your life in many different ways.”
Currently, one in seven people in the UK are going hungry because they can’t afford rocketing food costs.
“We are living in a cost of living crisis, which is having a profound implication on all of society,” explains Helena Gibson-Moore, Nutrition Scientist, British Nutrition Foundation. “It’s no shock to anyone that food prices have increased dramatically, and this is hitting people living in poverty the hardest. And it’s making it much more difficult to access and eat the food we need to be healthy.”
Be Enriched has a focus on delivering fresh and nutritious food that tends to be pricier and therefore left off the shopping list.
“Wages have not increased with the prices of food and rent,” says Kemi. “And even if you are working, it’s not enough to feed you and your family. So it is normal to now see people in work coming to use the services.”
“From the moment I started Be Enriched, it was really important to me that we focused on vegetables. Vegetables are so expensive, so our food is mainly vegetarian. Our food is always highly nutritious.”
The volunteers turn all the produce into a three-course meal, and they don’t know what they’re making until they get their hands on the ingredients. What they do know is that it’s healthy and fresh.
The guests don’t just come for the food, but for the special ingredient; the company.
“It’s as good as any expensive restaurant would serve, and maybe even better because it’s made with TLC,” says one of the guests.
“We are not isolated anymore, we are not lonely. We are filling our life with friendship,” says another.
Alongside these weekly lunches, Be Enriched is in the driving seat with other projects too. A food bus which sells affordable produce, for example. As well as organising school holiday kids clubs. Every year it serves nearly 4,000 meals, thanks to more than 650 volunteers.
Nutrition of Life
To raise awareness of the impact that nutrition has on the mind and body, the British Nutrition Foundation have partnered with ITN Business to create ‘Nutrition for Life’. This news-style programme, hosted by presenter Louise Minchin, explores the importance of nutrition for healthier ageing with a lens on cognitive health, musculoskeletal health and maintaining a healthy weight at every stage in life. The programme takes a deeper dive into the innovations and scientific advances in food and nutrition.
Watch the full programme below or head here for ‘Nutrition for Life”s main page where you’ll find more fascinating interviews, insights and partner films.