£20,000 on emergency food as Leeds anticipates increasing demand

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Around £20,000-a-week will be spent on emergency food supplies in Leeds during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been revealed.

Senior managers at Leeds City Council have agreed to spend part of a £21.9m government grant on emergency food stocks during the pandemic to support residents struggling to buy food.

A report claims the ability for low income groups to access food has become ‘increasingly challenging’ during the lockdown and anticipates demand for help providing food is likely to increase as the measures continue.

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It follows a government announcement on March 11 that local authorities would be allocated £1.6bn between them to cope with additional pressures to services brought about by coronavirus.

Extra support is being offered to those who are struggling for food.Extra support is being offered to those who are struggling for food.
Extra support is being offered to those who are struggling for food.

The report, from senior Leeds City Council officers claims the authority is working with food charities, adding: “It is anticipated that the £20,000 will be used to purchase additional essential food items to supplement existing donations from FareShare and ReThink Food.

“Although the council is working to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19, it is expected that demand for emergency food provision will grow as the systems in place become more refined and capture more people in need or as more people are impacted by the pandemic.”

It claimed around 1,000 food parcels have been sent out each week over the last three weeks, and that for this to continue, the service would likely cost around £40,000 a week – £20,000 of which would be made up of stock from food charity FairShare.

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The report added: “Demand is also expected to grow once more awareness of support is made available. The council is in the process of sending a leaflet to every household in the city outlining where to access help if required.

“These leaflets will be phased out and will target the index of multiple deprivation neighbourhoods, and will then be distributed citywide.”

The report concluded: “This report is requesting support of £20,000 per week from the Covid-19 funding allocation from Central Government, to ensure emergency food provisions can continue as demand is anticipated to increase.”