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Strengthening local responses to child food poverty during Covid-19

Food Power is partnering with Unicef UK to assist a variety of food-related community projects across the UK to support children and their families this winter.


2.4 million children were already living in food insecure households prior to Covid-19 and multiple indicators highlight how this figure is rising significantly as the pandemic continues. During Covid-19, many families have been left with little choice but to compromise nutrition in meals. Indeed, the recent National Food Strategy Part 1 report highlighted a decrease in daily fruit and vegetable consumption and an increase in the intake of unhealthier foods amongst children during lockdown, particularly children living in poorer families.

Through Food Power for Generation Covid, Sustain’s Food Power programme is partnering with Unicef UK to ensure children and families can access healthy food over the winter. Funding is supporting 30 projects around the UK.

“Over the last six months, coronavirus has turned children’s lives upside down. Sadly, we know that for many families across the UK, the continued impact of the pandemic will be increasing financial worries. Through Food Power for Generation Covid we hope to be able to support families at the local level and provide access to food, so that children can continue to eat well during this crisis period.”

Anna Kettley, Director of Programmes, Unicef UK

A number of projects will focus on supporting children during the school holidays given ongoing gaps in support. For example, in Southwark a breakfast box scheme will deliver healthy, culturally-appropriate breakfasts for children over the Christmas holiday and February half term. Similar projects will also run in Stockton on Tees, where families will be delivered fresh fruit and vegetable packs, as well as baking bags and meal kits to support family cooking during the holidays.

Other projects around the country, including in Cardiff, Flintshire, Newcastle and Thanet will provide cooked meals or meal kits using easy, healthy recipes and the inclusion of different options to accommodate to dietary requirements and individual food choices.

Beyond meal kits, Scotland will see the establishment of its first mobile community pantry in Aberdeen and in Blackburn and Darwen, support packages will be developed for new mothers who have had limited support in navigating the risks posed by the pandemic, as well as increasing the number of retailers signed up to the Healthy Start scheme.

“This funding is supporting a diverse range of community-level responses which aim to reach children and families at higher risk in different ways. Importantly, these projects are linked into their local food poverty alliance or food partnership ensuring a coordinated and targeted approach.”

Simon Shaw, Head of Food Poverty Programme, Sustain

Sustain continues to call for government action to ensure longer-term, wide-scale and sustainable government investment in children’s health.

Read the full list of projects receiving Food Power for Generation Covid funding.

Find out more about Food Power.

Published 25 Nov 2020

Food Power: Food Power is an exciting new programme working with local communities across the UK to strengthen their ability to reduce food poverty.

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