A new £16 million government grant, delivered across England through charity FareShare, will allow thousands local charities across England to distribute food to people struggling as a result of the pandemic, Food Minister Victoria Prentis has announced today.
The Defra Winter Support programme forms part of the wider Government winter support package and will help those who are vulnerable and disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 to access healthy and nutritious food through front-line charities throughout the winter, starting this week.
At least 4,000 frontline charities, not-for-profit organisations and community groups in England will benefit, including refuges, homeless shelters and rehabilitation services. It will cover rural areas as well as cities, targeting those who are struggling to get food. The programme aims to provide over 7,600 tonnes of food over the winter months.
FareShare have well-established, extensive networks for funding local charities and delivering food, which means they can swiftly ensure adequate support is provided when and where it is needed, as quickly as possible.
Food Minister Victoria Prentis said:
During this difficult winter period, our frontline charities are providing vital support to the most vulnerable members of our communities.
Alongside the wider Government support package, this grant will make a real difference to people across England. It will enable FareShare and their partner organisations to provide millions of meals for those who need them most.
Lindsay Boswell, CEO, FareShare said:
The FareShare network has been running a full time operation throughout the Covid 19 crisis, to get food to our most vulnerable communities. In England alone we have delivered food equivalent to over 57 million meals since March 23rd. We welcome the Government’s further financial support on behalf of the 4000 plus charities we provide food to in England, who in turn created over 3 million meals a week to help their clients at the height of the first lockdown. Both through this winter, and through the undoubtedly tough economic conditions set to impact the country this coming year, it is vital that we all work together to get help to those most in need.
The Government has recently announced a comprehensive package of additional support for vulnerable children and families during the winter period and beyond, which includes the £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme as well as this grant.
As part of this wider package, ring-fenced funding will be given directly to Local Authorities to support their communities and covers a broader range of needs. At least 80% is earmarked to support with food, energy and water bills, and will cover the period to the end of March. Local Authorities will receive the funding in early December.
The government continues to urge people to support family, friends and neighbours by helping with shopping for food and other supplies. Information on how to help safely can be found on gov.uk/safehelp. Those who meet the criteria for support from the NHS Volunteer Responders programme can refer themselves or a family member by calling 08081963646.
Local councils may also be able to offer support and give advice to those who do not have friends and family nearby to help. You can find your local authority by visiting https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council.
Those who are well and able to get to the shops are also encouraged to do so, leaving online delivery slots for those who need them most. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you will be able to register for additional support online. If you were on the supermarket priority list for food delivery slots before 31 July 2020, you’ll remain on the list.
The full package of Government winter support continues up until Easter 2021 and the Government will continue to monitor the situation and will make decisions on funding accordingly.