Call to claim funding for local food banks

Local food banks in Cherwell stand to benefit from a share of £70,000 in government grant funding.

Published: Wednesday, 4th November 2020

Cherwell District Council’s Community Hub Emergency Relief Fund is designed to support the voluntary and community organisations which run food banks and other similar schemes. The council is inviting applications to this fund and to the COVID-19 Councillor Priority Fund.

Councillor Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “The coronavirus restrictions are essential to protect the health of our communities. But we know that in many cases they will have caused additional hardships to people who were already struggling.

“Cherwell has, for many years, worked closely with the local organisations who run food banks. I cannot praise them highly enough for the way they have redoubled their efforts during this pandemic. I believe they are the best way for us as a district council to continue to address the essential issue of food insecurity in the future.”

Since it went live on 1 September, £17,465 of the funding has already been committed and £52,535 is still to be distributed.

The grants so far issued have funded: a food bank storage container and hygiene hub at Banbury Mosque; community food services and training at Cherwell Larder and the Sunshine Centre; and a food sustainability training project at Community First Oxfordshire.

Organisations can apply for up to £5,000 to meet the needs of residents who are struggling to afford food and other essentials. The funding can also be used to help economically disadvantaged residents access longer term support such as benefits

The Councillor Priority Fund has also been used to fund a number of vital food projects during the pandemic and still has over £42,000 available for organisations to apply for.

This fund has a broader scope and can fund activities including delivering food, supplies and medicines to those in vulnerable situations. It can also fund organisations offering support to the homeless, those suffering domestic abuse and for mental health.

To date, the councillors’ fund has provided funding for food banks, help with shopping for essential supplies, training and PPE for volunteers, meals on wheels, and more.

Cllr McHugh continued: “These funding streams could make a big difference to any organisation that is looking to expand its offerings to those who are struggling.

“Anyone who is uncertain about whether these funding opportunities could be right for them should get in touch with our grants team who can offer support and guidance.”

The Community Hub Emergency Relief Fund has been financed by the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) through Oxfordshire County Council.

For advice email grants@cherwell-dc.gov.uk or call 01295 221538.