A NEW £16million fund has been announced by the government to provide food for those who are struggling as a result of coronavirus.
The programme will provide millions of meals over the next 12 weeks and be delivered through charities including FareShare and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
At least 5,000 frontline charities 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.
Both WRAP and FareShare have well-established networks for funding local charities and delivering food, ensuring support can get to where it is needed as quickly as possible. Part of the fund will also be available for smaller food distribution charities.
These supplies will be in addition to those already donated by supermarkets, hospitality businesses, wholesalers, smaller retailers, suppliers and manufacturers who have been working collectively, co-ordinated by the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD).
The funding is part of the £750 million pot announced by the Chancellor for frontline charities across the UK during the coronavirus outbreak. This is a further step in work to allocate that funding package, with Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport leading on the allocation of funding. It builds on existing government support for those struggling as a result of the pandemic.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “During this difficult time our frontline food charities are doing brilliant work amid a significant increase in demand – working in refuges, drop-in services, homeless centres and other places.
“It is absolutely vital they have the resources they need and this funding will help the most vulnerable in our society get the food they need at this enormously challenging time.”
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.