Best Community Campaign


I’m thrilled to see the support and compassion of people rising throughout our communities. It’s having a rippling effect and it fills me with positivity towards the future.

The Campaign

In March 2020, as supermarket shelves emptied and services shut their doors, households across the country were concerned about how they would survive. Practically overnight, foodbanks were forced to closed, vulnerable people were told not to leave their homes and many support services became inaccessible. 

In Birmingham, where more than 40% of people live in the highest areas of deprivation in England, the disproportionate impact of lockdown was quickly felt. The enormity of the challenge was daunting but, with so many people eager to help, a partnership began to emerge. Community groups, faith groups, mutual aid groups and charities came together under the banner of #BrumTogether​. 

The​ campaign, set up in the first week of lockdown, soon became a beacon of cooperation and resilience.

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Sponsored by Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (Need to add in logo) Seek to bring about significant changes in the political system, making it more accountable, democratic and transparent and to rebalance power for the well-being of society.

The Change

#BrumTogether quickly grew into a network of over 85 mutual aid groups, community organisations and individuals, working together to provide critical supplies such as clothing and toiletries. Yet, more than distributing essentials, the network also became a way for people to connect, organise and build relationships.  

Together, they delivered more than 140,000 food parcels, cooked over 27,000 hot meals, and provided over 1,400 bulk food orders for distribution in local areas. Over 650 tonnes of surplus food were redistributed in 2020 – supporting thousands of individuals, families and vulnerable adults. 

Community spirit and collaboration have been the driving forces of the #BrumTogether campaign. WhatsApp groups and regular Zoom meetings createdspaces where anyone could get involved, share ideas and resources – members can post requests for support or offer assistance. A networked approach has encouraged ongoing collaboration between groups and individuals, involving everyone in the decision-making.   


The Future

Food poverty in Birmingham was already a reality for a significant proportion of the population before the pandemic, with people already having to make difficult choices between whether to heat their homes or eat. By working together, this campaign has helped to meet an immediate and serious need in the city, but also grown the ability of the community to organise for long-term change. 

Going forward, they will continue to organise as the Food Justice Network, which now has over 220 members, working collaboratively towards eradicating food poverty for good.  

Who else was involved?

The incredible group of parents who worked tirelessly on this campaign alongside Wiz and Diarmaid

  • Christina Walker and her inspiring son Luis Walker
  • Gayle Pledger
  • Robert Long 
  • Chris Burn
  • Jolene McCaffrey
  • Emily Birchall
  • Tom
  • Nina & Daniel
  • Sue
  • Along with so many more patients and their families across the country


NEON, with a special shout out to:

  • George Woods 
  • Dan Vockins
  • Kevin Smith
  • Matthew Butcher

The experts and activists who helped us, including:

  • Andrew Hill and Diz Gotham and the rest of the team
  • Ellen ‘t Hoen
  • Wilbert Bannenberg
  • James Freeman
  • Achal Prabhala
  • Will Nutland
  • Ellie Mae O’Hagan
  • Our friends in the lab that tested the meds
  • All our friends in Argentina
  • The brains in KEI

All the amazing journalists who covered the story, but in particular:

  • Deb Cohen
  • Sarah Boseley
  • And the teams at Newsnight, This Morning, Victoria Derbyshire, and Inside Out
  • Our amazing funders – Azzi and Rosalind at OSF
  • The Shuttleworth Foundation
  • The individuals who give so generously to support us
  • The countless parliamentarians who held Vertex accountable for their actions and called on the government to put NHS patients before Vertex’s profits
  • And ultimately the people within government and the NHS who accepted their moral responsibility to find an alternative to simply accepting a drug company’s monopoly should lead to patients dying without access, a move which forced Vertex back to negotiations where they dropped their price to a level affordable for the NHS
  • This list is not even close to being exhaustive – we have been helped by so many people in this work, it’s hugely humbling and we’re deeply grateful to them all. But the truth is that this kind of solidarity and collaboration is what it takes to build the power to win a David Vs Goliath battle like this.