THE city council has put over £600,000 of support into emergency food provision over the past 12 weeks, working with food banks across the city to keep people safe during the coronavirus crisis.
The money has been split between the council’s own food hub and the city’s Emergency Food Partnership - a group of 16 local food banks working together to support some of Leicester’s most vulnerable residents.
Around £350,000 worth of food parcels have been provided directly by the council’s own food hub, with a further £260,000 of council funding going to the Emergency Food Partnership.
Figures show that last week (w/c 15/6/20), the partnership gave food to 5,481 people. Since the start of lockdown, the Emergency Food Partnership has helped tens of thousands of people.
This is in addition to the 7,342 people helped by the city council’s own food hub, which has been supplying vulnerable people with food parcels since the beginning of April.
Assistant city mayor Cllr Kirk Master, who leads on neighbourhood services, said: “I’m very proud of the way that council staff, food banks and local charities have all worked together during the coronavirus crisis to ensure our most vulnerable residents get the basic supplies they need.
“We have supported food banks throughout our neighbourhoods during this difficult time, providing food supplies, guidance on public health and advice on the safety measures they need to take.”
Deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell, who leads on anti-poverty, added: “Now, as the lockdown eases, it’s important to remember that there are still plenty of people out there who need our help, which is why we will continue to support food banks to provide their vital assistance.
“As well as essential supplies, some of the food banks we are working with also provide advice and support to people who have issues with debt or benefits, and refer them to other sources of help. They are targeting their services so that they can continue to help those most in need.”
Local charity Action Homeless is commissioned by the city council to co-ordinate the work of the Emergency Food Partnership. Mark Grant from Action Homeless said: “Community groups have done a fantastic job in responding to the needs of those most affected by the lockdown. Action Homeless is immensely grateful to the city council for the support it has given us to ensure that we can continue to supply these groups with the food they need. Once again it has shown just how resilient Leicester is and how organisations across the city work together to meet the needs of Leicester citizens.”
Angie Wright from Braunstone Foodshare, one of the food banks that forms part of the Emergency Food Partnership, said: “The last three months have been incredibly busy for our food bank as we have risen to the challenge of a 20 per cent increase in the households we serve in Braunstone and had to change to a doorstep delivery model extremely quickly. But we have been supported tremendously through the city council and its funds to the Emergency Food Partnership, which has provided us with essential food deliveries every week.
“We have still gratefully received some donations too, and we would encourage people to keep thinking of us in the weeks and months ahead, when donations will be ever more needed.”
Food banks are still in need of donations to help people at this difficult time. To donate, please add your item/s to a public collection point – often found at supermarkets – taking heed of social distancing while you do so. A ‘wish list’ of the items food banks most need is available at https://actionhomeless.org.uk/the-food-stop/
If you or someone you know needs support from a food bank, please contact email@example.com