Many people experiencing poverty, homelessness and substance use find it very difficult to maintain a healthy and adequate diet, but good nutrition can make a significant difference to their physical and mental health and overall well-being. Accessing fresh and nutritious food with limited resources is a constant challenge.
Research by the Royal College of Physicians has shown that at least three in five homeless people have no daily intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. Many day centres and homeless people themselves simply cannot afford a regular supply of high quality fresh food. At the same time, due to stringent company policies, food retailers and wholesalers are throwing away huge amounts of good quality food. This waste frustrates many food suppliers, but they do not have the means to arrange and co-ordinate its distribution.
It is estimated that 4 million people in the UK cannot afford a healthy diet, with 1 in 7 people over 65 at serious risk of malnourishment.
This lack of a healthy diet, combined with the other hardships such as homelessness impairs the immune system and leaves people vulnerable to ill health. For example poor health has a significant impact on homeless people with an average lifespan of just 42 years compared to the national average of 74 years.
Improved physical health often leads to better mental health and therefore, by providing clients with a healthy nutritious daily meal Freedom Social Projects is helping to improve the overall quality of people’s lives.