Coronavirus: UK Government announces £16m funding for frontline food charities

The government is to provide £16m to food charities to help people struggling to eat enough during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ministers said some 5,000 English charities would benefit, with groups including FareShare and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) helping deliver meals over the next 12 weeks.

Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of Fareshare, an anti-food waste charity, said the money would not be used to cover its running costs – meaning all of it will go towards providing food.

She said in a statement: “We have seen the generosity of the food industry who have stepped up to donate food and logistical support to help us do this, and the government has now come in to play its part.”

The government funding, part of £750m already pledged to the charitable sector by Rishi Sunak, was announced at Friday’s Downing Street press conference.

Wrap chief executive Marcus Gover said his organisation was finalising the first batch of applications by charities.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement: “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, coordinated by the Institute of Grocery Distribution.

“The funding is part of the £750m pot announced by the chancellor for frontline charities across the UK during the coronavirus outbreak.”

Earlier this month, figures showed that the number of children relying on food banks had doubled during the UK’s period of coronavirus lockdown. Organisers said loss of income and delays or problems with accessing benefits were the most common reasons for demand, with many people who had never previously used food banks now reliant on them.

We are encouraging readers to help groups that are trying to feed the hungry during the crisis – find out how you can help others.

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