ODI Podcast: Food banks, data and social change

How can data analysis help us to understand and reduce food poverty? ODI Writer / Editor Anna Scott speaks with Andy Hamflett and Simon Raper, creators of the UK’s first dynamic visualisation tool for food poverty

The use of food banks in the UK has reached an all-time high. Their provision and use are increasingly part of the country's social and political landscape.

In this ODI Podcast, Andy Hamflett and Simon Raper explain how open data can help us to understand the scale of the problem, find solutions and better target resources.

Andy is Co-Founder and Director at AAM Associates, an independent research agency and consultancy that helps social organisations with digital innovation. Simon is founder of Coppelia, a machine learning and analytics business.

Andy and Simon have worked together to create the UK’s first dynamic visualisation tool for food poverty, aligning the Trussell Trust Foodbank Network’s client and food bank location data with a range of open datasets.

During the podcast, they discuss trends they have seen in food bank data, such as increased use around school holidays, as well as primary causes of the need for food banks, such as delayed or cut benefits.

Andy and Simon go onto explain how other organisations can engage with their data to target services, and encourage more organisations to partner on similar data programmes. In particular, Andy and Simon emphasise how charities (who often have better data than they think) can cheaply visualise data to engage more people in their work, or partner with data academies (who often lack data) to improve analysis within social change programmes.

This podcast was presented by Anna Scott and produced by Freya Hellier. It follows a Friday lunchtime lecture that Simon and Andy gave on the same subject.

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