We continue a full national operation to get food to vulnerable people during the Covid-19 crisis.

Government Winter Support Package

  • The Government has announced a comprehensive package of support for vulnerable individuals that will provide additional support for children and families during the winter period.
  • This package includes £16m of funding to FareShare to work with local charities across England to provide food for those struggling due to the immediate impacts of the pandemic.

FareShare £16m grant scheme

Q. What is the purpose of the £16m grant?

  • To ensure that those people who are vulnerable and disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 are able to receive food through front-line charities over twelve weeks to cover the winter period.
  • This forms one strand of a wider Government winter support package which aims to support vulnerable groups affected by Covid-19, including the economically vulnerable and those without recourse to public funds, who are not immediately able to access food.
  • The voluntary sector and industry have already been working to tackle this issue of increased demand for food aid charities, but demand still exists within the vulnerable cohort and Government has decided to intervene.
  • The aim is to provide support for over 4000 charities and not-for-profit organisations and provide just over 7600 tonnes of food, the equivalent of around 18 million meals.

Q. How does this differ from the DWP grant of £170m to Local Authorities?

  • The DWP grant of £170M will be given directly to Local Authorities to support their communities and covers a broader range of needs. Defra’s £16M grant will be given directly to FareShare to purchase food and redistribute this food to its network of charities, and through FareShare, to other redistribution charities in England.
  • There is evidence to suggest that demand for charity food provision will increase and many third sector organisations will not be able to meet this demand without government support. FareShare are best placed to provide this essential support at the scale and pace required, because of its national reach and delivery routes to thousands of food using charities.
  • Through the FareShare grant, individuals – including those without recourse to public funds – will be supported over the winter period through the voluntary sector.

Q. Why is FareShare being granted the funding?

  • FareShare is the largest food redistribution charity in the UK, with networks and supply chains that cover thousands of front-line organisations across the country. FareShare also works closely with supermarkets and wholesalers by using surplus food that would otherwise have gone to waste from restaurants, hotels and other hospitality businesses.
  • FareShare’s existing network means that food can be distributed to front line charities quickly and effectively in time for this Winter period.
  • This grant is an extension of the previous grant made to FareShare in the summer, enabling a swift agreement to be made. This means vital food provisions will reach many more people in need more rapidly.

Q. What will FareShare do with this grant?

  • FareShare will purchase food from across the food industry. The purchased food will then be distributed to FareShare’s network of distribution centres where it will be packed and delivered to housands of charities across England providing care and support services, including food, over the winter period, to meet an increase in demand. This will ensure the voluntary sector can continue to run their operations.

Q. Why does FareShare charge their members a fee for food purchased through the Defra grant?

  • FareShare is a charity. To remain sustainable, its regional centres ask members to pay a nominal membership fee to cover operational costs, such as van fuel, electricity for fridges and freezers, and warehouse lease costs.
  • Current FareShare members will not pay any additional membership when receiving additional food funded by Defra
  • Non-member food redistribution organisations, which were successful in receiving food through the previous Defra grant in the summer, will also be eligible to receive food purchased through the Defra grant for the winter programme but will not be charged membership fees for this.

Q. Our charity received support through the previous grant scheme, what support is now available to us?

  • We have carefully considered all options and understand that a need to support other charities outside of FareShare’s current network is important. Therefore, we have come to an agreement with FareShare that any charity who was successful in obtaining a grant through the summer Charity Grant Scheme will be able to join FareShare’s network without a membership fee for the period of this grant funding from Dec 1st 2020 to March 1st 2021. We hope that this will allow charities outside of the current FareShare network to also benefit from this support. However these organisations will need to have the logistical capacity to receive this bulk food. For more information please contact [email protected]
  • Charities receiving food through FareShare, with this grant, are not permitted to sell this food or charge for any service / membership fee associated to individuals accessing the food. Participating charities must get the food to vulnerable individuals at no cost to those individuals.

Q. My charity was unsuccessful in the Charity Grant Scheme and still needs food / has increased demand for our food services, where can I go for support?

  • This is a temporary emergency fund to help alleviate the immediate pressures of the charity sector over the winter period, who are facing a large increase in demand. If you run a small charity or community group that is interested in receiving free Government-funded food support you can apply to become a FareShare Member to access food for a fee or you can contact [email protected] and they will refer you, where partners have capacity, to one of their regional partners where you may be able to access food for free. Support from FareShare will be dependent on your logistical capacity to receive bulk food.
  • FareShare also runs a programme with many of the major supermarkets that helps connect local charities to their local supermarket, to collect unsold food at no cost to participating charities. Visit fareshare.org.uk/getting-food/ for more details.

Q. Is it going to help food banks? If not, why not?

  • The primary objective of this grant is to support the voluntary sector in meeting an increased demand for their services. This includes many different types of organisations such as food banks, homeless shelters, school holiday clubs and women’s refuges.
  • FareShare has the capacity to make food available to the widest range of charities and community-based organisations in England
  • Food banks will continue to operate as normal and receive the food donations provided to them.

Q. Why has a proportion of the funding not been made available for other charities to bid for? (as was seen in the previous Charity Grant Scheme)

  • The funding needs to be available to meet the immediate needs of individuals facing difficulties with affording food during the winter period.
  • Due to the time pressures involved, the most feasible and efficient way to get food to front line charities is to utilise FareShare’s existing national network. This ensures that support is in place before the Christmas holidays when demand is expected to increase.
  • Launching another small grant application scheme would take time to establish and administer to ensure funding was provided based on appropriate need. The time this would take significantly risks not having support in place before the Christmas period.

Q. How will you know the food going to these places will be healthy and nutritious?

  • FareShare will use this and other donations to provide healthy and balanced meals to their beneficiaries. FareShare is committed to providing nutritionally balanced meals in line with the NHS Eat Well guide. Fresh food alongside ambient food will be distributed, which will further increase FareShare’s compliance with the Eat Well Guide.

Q. Why is this funding targeting the winter period and not for a longer period of time?

  • The grant is targeted at providing immediate support over the winter period to keep key voluntary organisations open and to support those facing difficulties, as a result of the economic impacts of Covid-19. This timeframe will be kept under review. The full package of winter support continues up until Easter 2021 and the Government will continue to monitor the situation and will make decisions on funding accordingly.

Q. How will the needs of disabled people be catered for?

  • It is anticipated that the charities being provided for, will support a very broad range of vulnerable groups, including those with physical and mental health vulnerabilities

Q. How will you support small charities unable to accept pallets of food?

  • Small charities or community groups who are not able to accept a minimum of 13 pallets through this scheme could be supported through regional Fareshare centres or hub partners which are located across England. If you run a small charity or food aid provider that is interested in receiving free Government-funded food support you can apply to become a FareShare Member to access food for a fee or you can contact [email protected] and they will refer you, where partners have capacity, to one of their regional partners where you may be able to access food for free.