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Newark and Sherwood District Council’s portfolio holder for health, wellbeing and leisure, Susan Crosby, says that everyone should have access to healthy fresh food.

As the portfolio holder for health, wellbeing and leisure I take an active interest in how, as a district councillor, I can help residents enjoy healthier lifestyles, writes Susan Crosby.

This ranges from promoting policies which help everyone to get active through to making sure that our residents have access to the food they need.

I personally like to try and help out on a practical level too. Every month some of my colleagues and I have a stall in Newark Marketplace where we offer out cups of hot soup.

Susan Crosby, portfolio holder for health, wellbeing and leisure at Newark andSherwood District Council.
Susan Crosby, portfolio holder for health, wellbeing and leisure at Newark andSherwood District Council.

It’s offered free, with donations optional and only where possible. Any money raised goes to local charities. It’s so rewarding to give something back and it’s a great chance to meet local people and to get to understand what is important to them.

Across our district, especially during the cost-of-living crisis, we have seen food banks, food clubs and food hubs springing up, often staffed by volunteers and offering families who need it, access to low-cost food. These have provided much-needed lifelines to many people.

I feel very passionately about ensuring everyone has access to healthy fresh food. Diet and health are so closely linked, a balanced diet has been demonstrated to improve health.

With the help of a grant from Nottinghamshire County Council, we are able to offer fresh fruit and vegetables to residents for a £1 a bag.

The bags include all the staples you need, fresh fruit like apples, oranges and bananas, vegetables too, including potatoes, onions and various types of green veg.

The produce comes directly from Hardy’s Farm Shop in Farndon, at cost, picked up and packed by volunteers from the Newark Food and Wellbeing Hub at Beaumont Walk for residents to buy on the same day.

Hardy’s are also adding to our order by putting half as much produce again on top which is a really generous gesture.

We also organise a ‘crop drop’ scheme where local producers donate excess produce that would otherwise go to waste.

It’s great quality, locally grown food — that keeps the ‘food miles’ down which is great for the environment, cuts down on waste, which is great for the environment and gives residents who need it access to great tasting, fresh, healthy food.

We also provide cookery classes across the district, including special classes for teenagers, giving participants the chance to prepare a healthy nutritious meal, on a budget, from cheap easy to use ingredients.

These have been so well received with the classes always oversubscribed. We want to keep providing this type of practical help for residents as long as they need it.

We are looking for different ways to help. In my opinion, everyone deserves to eat well and to eat healthily and we try and make sure it is affordable for everyone to do so.

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