Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, with a beneficiary family and Islamic Help staff in Balsall Heath.
It is not just in poverty-stricken regions of Africa or Asia where populations are at risk of malnutrition. In the United Kingdom, about 3 million people are malnourished at any time and many more at risk of becoming malnourished (source: NHS Choices 2015).
The elderly are at particular risk of malnutrition; isolation and poverty, especially food poverty, aggravate the chances of them succumbing to under-nutrition or malnutrition.
As part of Islamic Help’s commitment to help people in the UK, every year we distribute food hampers to elderly and vulnerable people in Birmingham irrespective of their race, religion, gender or creed.
Working with the Balsall Heath Forum and local church, community groups and schools, we distribute hundreds of food packs containing essential items to help prevent malnutrition and associated health problems.
Households are selected from a database compiled by the Forum and according to need. Recipients include the elderly, pensioners and those deemed vulnerable. The hampers contain items such as tea, sugar, biscuits, pasta, pasta sauce, crisps, chocolate and tinned food.
The distributions take place at least twice a year, usually during or just after Ramadan and in the winter when vulnerable families’ needs are increased. About 200 households benefit from the programme every year.
A pensioner receiving food pack
The value of the programme and Islamic Help’s contribution to improving the lives of some of the UK’s most vulnerable people received Government recognition when Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, helped deliver the food parcels to local residents to celebrate Eid .
1. About one in three people admitted to hospital or care homes in the UK are found to be malnourished or at risk of malnourishment (source: NHS Choices 2015)
2. Malnutrition is caused by either an inadequate diet or a problem absorbing nutrients from food
3. Malnutrition can be caused by a number of factors including having reduced mobility, a long term health condition or a low income
4. The Health and Social Care Information Centre shows the number of those admitted to hospital in England and Wales rose from 5,469 to 6,520 in 2014.
5. Conditions like rickets are becoming more apparent because people cannot afford quality food in their diet (source: Faculty of Public Health, 2015)