Case Study: Campaigning for Better Access to Food in Burnley

Case Study: Campaigning for Better Access to Food in Burnley

This case study forms part of the social movement lever of the Healthier Place, Healthier Future project. From March to June 2021, Food Active worked with Burnley Youth Theatre and Social Sense to develop a creative project shaped and driven by young people – the project is called #BurnleyGetsHangry.




How did the #GetsHangry campaigns start?

#DarwenGetsHangry began as a youth-led campaign responding to the issues of food poverty in the surrounding area, supported by Food Power. Food Power aims to strengthen the ability of local communities to reduce food poverty, through solutions developed in partnership and with the support of peers from across the UK. Their support helped the group to contribute towards the Children’s Future Food Inquiry, along with numerous other local and national activities, and the End Hunger UK conference in Westminster.

The aim of the #BurnleyGetsHangry project was to develop a campaign similar in spirit and empowerment to #DarwenGetsHangry. The project ran consultation sessions during May 2021, with the core group meeting from April to June 2021. The result of this was a 10-week creative project in partnership with Burnley Youth Theatre (BYT), Social Sense, and cooking sessions delivered by Burnley FC in the Community. The thematic focus for the project was around access to food and food poverty. The rationale behind this project was to test the effectiveness of public sector and creative institutional partnerships to engage and empower children and young people.


Raising the profile of ‘food for health’ with creative engagement

#BurnleyGetsHangry utilised creative methods of engaging CYP in sensitive issues, whilst building confidence in presentation skills and offering the space to make new friends. The overall aim of the project was to support young people and give them a voice to raise the profile of ‘food for health’; the food environment; barriers around food access, affordability and availability; to reduce the stigma associated with food poverty and to engage communities in the agenda. The project included a final evaluation session, to gain insight on key learnings from the group. The evaluation consisted of qualitative interviews and an online survey.


Supporting a whole systems approach

The #BurnleyGetsHangry project supports the overall ‘whole systems approach’ used in HPHF. The collaborative process of working across the different third sector and arts organisations highlighted how multi-stakeholder partnerships allowed for a rich programme of delivery and the opportunity to learn key skills for the participants.

The #BurnleyGetsHangry project will be documented in the form of a toolkit. This toolkit will capture the learning from the campaigns which can be utilised by partners across Pennine Lancashire and beyond. It is hoped that this will inspire and inform further #GetsHangry campaigns and be relevant for LA’s outside of the Pennine Lancashire area and other stakeholders.


The Great Big Junk Food Debate

The #GetsHangry project is a key output of the social movement strand of the HPHF programme, also known as ‘The Great Big Junk Food Debate’. The aim of the social movement is to utilise and support community action and engagement to improve the food environment in Pennine Lancashire and beyond. The movement hopes to give residents a voice and the opportunity to support change.

The Great Big Junk Food Debate includes a broad range of interventions, campaigns, actions, and acts as an umbrella to encompass the fantastic existing work currently going on across Pennine Lancashire and the new workstreams borne out of the trailblazer. Further, the project touched upon other ‘levers’ of HPHF, discussing the availability of healthy options in supermarkets or takeaways (businesses), and the invitation to Councillors to attend the final protest performance (system leadership).


Who were the key people involved?

HPHF instigated the partnerships involved in the #BurnleyGetsHangry project. The partnerships were discovered after attending a monthly online community network meeting. Burnley Youth Theatre set up the initial consultation sessions with schools and local community groups based on their existing good relationships with each organisation.

  • Burnley Youth Theatre (BYT) – BYT deliver, produce, and programme a wide range of creative activities, productions and events which engage children, young people and families. BYT hosted the space for the group to meet and a creative practitioner to lead the sessions.
  • Social Sense – Social Sense are a social marketing agency that delivers positive, social behavioural change and ensures measurable results for communities throughout the UK and Europe. Social Sense conducted two branding sessions with the group to give identity to the campaigns.
  • Burnley FC in the Community – Burnley FC in the Community is the official charity of Burnley Football Club. The charity has a fully equipped kitchen and a professionally trained learning and development chef who hosted two days of cooking sessions with the group.
  • Other stakeholders – other stakeholders include schools, local community groups and Burnley Council. These stakeholders were contacted in relation to the project progress, for initial consultation sessions, and communication support.


Key outputs
  • Five initial consultation sessions in three different schools, groups from BYT and Participation Works.
  • Delivery of a ten-week creative project with a core group of seven to nine children and young people, identified from the initial consultation sessions.
  • Two four-hour cooking sessions at Burnley FC in the Community Kitchen attended by 6-8 of the core #GetsHangry group aged between 11-18.
  • Two branding and campaign identity sessions run with the group, by Social Sense, at Burnley Youth Theatre.
  • One final ‘protest performance’ at Burnley College’s stage with around 20 attendees, including four councillors (three with cabinet position at Lancashire County Council).
  • Increased reported awareness of healthy eating in evaluation (taken from an online survey and informal, qualitative interviews with the group in a feedback session).
  • Increased understanding of inequalities, issues associated with food insecurity in evaluation (taken from an online survey and informal, qualitative interviews with the group in a feedback session).
  • Young people are continuing to develop their role as advocates on food issues locally.
  • Reported new friendships made.
  • A reported increase in confidence in presentations and performance from the group.
  • A toolkit developed on key learnings from the #GetsHangry campaigns and recommendations for local authorities who wish to create similar campaigns.


Listen to the experiences of the young campaigners


What’s next for #BurnleyGetsHangry?
  • Sustainability: we aim to create a ‘Pennine Lancashire’ group for the #GetsHangry project, bringing the different working groups together to discuss next steps.
  • Continue communications about the project – e.g., through social media, podcasts, developing a toolkit, blog posts, asking group participants to speak at national events.
  • In the feedback session, the group intended on creating social media for the project would like to go into schools, work with food banks and fundraise to continue the project.


What worked?

The group, when asked, mentioned that they learnt about inequalities across the UK, cooking skills (including the importance of healthy diets and drinking water), and key issues around food poverty.


What would we change?

The group stated they would like to go into schools to talk about poverty, create the brand for the project earlier on, make the project not just about poverty but wider topics such as healthy eating, wider poverty issues, and social inequalities and finally advertise the project to others in a wider audience.


Key learnings
  • This project highlights how public health and creative organisations can create engaging and meaningful projects, this could also work in a social prescribing setting.
  • Allowing the local organisation and the group to direct the project meant that the project was enabled by the group themselves and further, the call to action had meaning.
  • Working on the project with a wider footprint may have allowed for a more diverse range of voices, however, travel time and cost may provide an issue for younger people.
  • Increased engagement with local role models (e.g., youth MPs, elected members) would allow for more tangible discussions between young people and policymakers and potentially lead to local policy change.


Wider views
  • Stakeholders had reflected it was unique to work on a project primarily about food, however it was refreshing.
  • Councillors who attended the performance said it was impressive to see the enthusiasm and engagement from the group. In reflection, the Councillors suggested that the group should continue working within food, for example, visiting farms in the local area to learn more about food provenance.
  • BFiC have developed ‘The Kitchen Club’, with the #BurnleyGetsHangry group being the first attendees. This is a cooking club that caters to a wide variety of stakeholders.


Watch the highlights

👉🏾 Watch the full performance of #BurnleyGetsHangry here.




Print this article


Find out more about the Food Active team and the Food Active Network

What we Do

Find out more about our programme of work and our priorities

Policy Change

Explore our work on influencing policy both locally and nationally


Discover our range of campaigns to promote behaviour change


Find out more about our research to understand and explore the food environment


Get up to speed with our past conferences and events programme