Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature The BMJ Appeal

Community support that’s more than a sticking plaster

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 05 January 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:m4959
  1. Jane Feinmann, journalist
  1. London, UK
  1. jane{at}

The BMJ’s appeal this year supports the Independent Food Aid Network, a charity that has helped independent food banks and other community meal providers throughout the covid-19 pandemic, writes Jane Feinmann

The covid-19 pandemic has underlined the role now played by general practices in alleviating food insecurity. A key part of this role is “referring” the growing number of patients in need of emergency food parcels to food banks.1 Many of these food aid organisations are members of the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN), the charity that The BMJ has chosen to support this year through its annual appeal.

At Kilburn Park Medical Centre, a general practice with about 8000 registered patients, most of whom live in a pocket of deprivation in north west London, all health workers and receptionists refer any patients who mention having money problems or worrying about food to the practice’s social prescriber. From there, they can be directed to local food banks.

These include Granville Community Kitchen, a food hub in South Kilburn, …

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