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UK food deserts: 1.2m people struggle to get fresh food

By Sally Lockwood, Sky News correspondent
Parts of the country are being called "food deserts" due to a lack of affordable fresh food.  
The first map of its kind reveals food access and affordability across the country.
If you want to know what food insecurity looks like, it's a queue of people waiting in the drizzle outside an Oldham community centre for fresh food they can't otherwise afford.A queue that begins an hour before the doors even open.Once a week a charity comes here to sell people three bags of supermarket donations for just €7.The bags contain fresh vegetables, meat, fish among other things.It's not means tested.It's for anyone who needs it.And there are plenty.The charity is working at full capacity supplying 160 people a week with food but they have a waiting list 100 strong.A mother named Sandra tells me: "It helps me and my daughter because my daughter's got learning difficulties."She's not able to walk far so getting to an affordable supermarket is difficult and a taxi is an extra cost.A man named John tells me it feels "demeaning" but as a single dad, he says it's what he has to do.
UK food deserts: 1.2m people struggle to get fresh food

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Sandra, whose daughter has learning difficulties, relies on a food charity
Oldham is on the edge of one of these so-called "food deserts".The worst food deserts in England are in Hull, Bristol and Tameside.

The three worst in Scotland are all in GlasgowAnd in Wales they're in Cardiff and Newport.Of the 1.2 million people living in these food-poor areas, 10% have even cut back on their own food consumption so others in their family can eat.And this figure climbs to 14% among people with a household income of less than €10,000.One of the report contributors calls the situation "appalling."Food security expert Megan Blake from the University of Sheffield said: "We need to rethink the welfare reforms that are going on because they're creating a bigger problem for people.""We also need to support local communities in what they're doing around food insecurity."Food is more than nutrition and calories.
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