Charities to receive £16m to put food on the table of the vulnerable

Some £16m of a £750m pot created by Government to support charities through coronavirus will help put food on the tables of those struggling for money due to the pandemic.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said today more than one million food parcels had so far been delivered to the clinically vulnerable in society who may not be able to get to the shops.

And additional supermarket delivery priority slots had also been available for vulnerable people.

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But speaking in Downing Street today he said the Government would now be working with charities to provide food for those experiencing financial difficulty due to the pandemic.

Environment Secretary George Eustice. Photo: PA

Mr Eustice said some £16m would go to the charities, as he said: “We also recognise the economic impacts of coronavirus means that vulnerability is not just about physical access to food. For some, there is also financial vulnerability.”

He said: “The fund will be used by FareShare and WRAP to continue and support and increase the food redistribution work that they already do and will significantly expand their sourcing capacity.

“They will be delivering food to around 5,000 frontline charities. These include refuges, homeless shelters and rehabilitation centres.”

The funding will come from the £750m previously announced by the Chancellor for the voluntary sector.

And Mr Eustice was asked whether this amount would be upped due to the impact of Covid-19 on organisations such as social care charities.

Social care has been drastically impacted by coronavirus, with new figures showing more than 5,000 cases have now been recorded in care homes alone.

Mr Eustice said: “There have been many successful bids into that, covering all the areas you’ve mentioned, also some of the food charities and many more besides, including packages to support some smaller zoos and some of the other venues that have been affected.

“So it’s been quite a broad package, quite a supportive package.

“These are extraordinary times but I think that £750m is very welcome and it’s helped a lot of charities with the additional burdens that they have as a result of the coronavirus.”

NHS England Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis added: “The NHS has been working increasingly closely with colleagues in social care to provide support, so we are testing patients before they are discharged into care homes.

“But I think it’s important also to note that it’s a relatively small number of discharges from hospitals that actually are directly into care homes, somewhere in the region of around one in 20 are going into care homes for the first time.

“It’s right though that, as I said, we put as much support as we possibly do into care homes.”

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