Cornwall Council is working with community food groups to ensure support continues to be available to anyone who needs emergency food and other essentials.
Over the pandemic the Council awarded over £659,000 to food charities to enable them to increase their capacity and better help communities in accessing urgent supplies.
Cash grants from the Emergency Food Assistance Fund have helped more than 60 groups pay for food, equipment, storage, transport costs, volunteer expenses and any other items to build their infrastructure and resilience.
The Council received funding from DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to run the programme.
Five of the food projects which have received funding have shared videos of their work during the last lockdown.
These are Carharrack Food Pantry, the Fare Exchange Food Hub run by Cultivate Cornwall, Churches Together in Penzance, Lighthouse Community Centre in Liskeard and the Community Larder Hub run by Treverbyn Community Trust.
Michelle Brown at Churches Together said: “We take referrals from the different agencies such as GPs, schools, Citizens Advice, social services, faith leaders etc. and the idea is that we work with those agencies to help people out of situations of crisis and get them into a sustainable situation with their food and other aspects of their funding. It’s very much a frontline operation.”
Clare Bevan who runs the Lighthouse Community Centre in Liskeard said: “An average day for us at the centre would be collecting food supplies, receiving deliveries, liaising with our service users, packing and delivering food parcels and planning for the future which is something we are always doing.
“Our community was already suffering from high levels of deprivation and unfortunately the pandemic has only exacerbated this.”
The Council has set up a Food Insecurity Group to tackle food poverty and collaborated with the Voluntary Sector Forum to create the Cornwall Food Access Alliance. Community groups can get involved by emailing Andrew.Yates@truro.anglican.org
The initiative is part of the Council’s crisis help package for those in need over the pandemic, which included a food voucher scheme for schoolchildren and college students, free advice to residents on debt relief, benefits support and keeping warm and well through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme. For more information see Do you need a helping hand? - Cornwall Council.
Councillor Andy Virr, Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health at Cornwall Council, said: “Over the pandemic our Food Insecurity Group has worked closely with the community food sector and supported a diverse range of organisations across Cornwall to bolster their capacity and help anyone in need access emergency food and essential supplies.
“Food insecurity will be an issue for some time and we are reviewing our council services for food provision and support for those in need while continuing to work closely with community food groups to ensure no-one who needs emergency food provision goes hungry.”
Rev Andrew Yates, co-chair of Cornwall Independent Poverty Forum and Chair of the Cornwall Food Access Alliance said: “It has been great to work alongside the Food Insecurity Group and see how the Emergency Food Assistance Fund has enabled community organisations to continue to alleviate food poverty and meet the needs of residents across Cornwall and especially to reach those so severely impacted by the pandemic.”
An interactive Help with Food map shows all emergency food support in towns and villages throughout Cornwall where residents in need can access emergency food and other essentials is online at Let’s Talk Cornwall https://letstalk.cornwall.gov.uk/help-with-food.
Story posted July 7, 2021