St P 6th May 4

Plymouth charities join forces to feed local families over Christmas and beyond

A project to support children and families at risk of food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic is to receive funding from Unicef and Food Power.

It’s part of Unicef’s first UK domestic emergency response in its 70-year history.

The United Nations Children’s Agency is helping to fund Plymouth’s Families Right 2 Healthy Food project, which will see Food Plymouth working with Transforming Plymouth Together, Provide Devon and Food is Fun CIC to provide food to around 120 families at key points including Christmas and the February 2021 half-term.

Unicef are contributing £24,078 towards the partnership.

It will focus on improving the nutritional quality of emergency food parcels.

The families will also be given ongoing cookery training and educational and relational support.

The Plymouth project is part of Unicef’s national Food Power for Generation Covid initiative with Sustain, the sustainable food and farming network.

Dr Clare Pettinger, from Food Plymouth, said “This is a really exciting new funded project for the city, highlighting our collective impact around food.

We will run the four month ‘Families Right 2 Healthy Food’ project to enhance food access for around 120 Plymouth families in response to ongoing need during the covid pandemic.

“This is an exciting collaborative project to improve the nutritional quality of emergency food parcels delivered at two specific time points: December 2020 and the February 2021 half term.

“It will include ongoing educational, cooking and relational support delivered alongside.”

Unicef says the coronavirus pandemic is the most urgent crisis affecting children since the Second World War, upending children’s lives around the world and in the UK.

Even before the pandemic struck, an estimated 2.4 million UK children were already growing up in food insecure households. Since March 2020, families have faced hardship and struggled to make ends meet and access food, as the economy suffers and jobs have been lost.

This has meant that across the UK, there has been an increased demand placed on community support services like Food Plymouth and its partners.

Anna Kettley, Director of Programmes at Unicef UK, said “The Coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted children and families over the last eight months.

“Their lives have been upended and sadly, we know that for many families across the UK, coronavirus will have a continued impact on family finances.

“Through ‘Food Power for Generation Covid’ we aim to ensure families are reached at the local level through the services provided by Food Plymouth, Transforming Plymouth Together, Provide Devon and Food is Fun CIC, so children can continue to eat well during this crisis.”

“Unicef UK’s emergency response to the pandemic and the funding for

Families Right 2 Healthy Food is part of our effort to reach the families and communities most in need as the impact of the pandemic worsens, but we can’t do it alone.”

Simon Shaw, Head of the Food Poverty Programme at Sustain, said: “All over the UK local food poverty alliances have been taking action to ensure local people have access to food during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This partnership with Unicef UK comes at a crucial point in the midst of heighted Covid restrictions, when many individuals’ resources will be depleted.

“Local alliances like the Plymouth partners are well-placed to support their communities over the next few months and to reach those who have been hardest hit.”

Anne Kettley added, “While the new package of measures announced by the UK Government last week goes a long way to fulfilling the recommendations made in the National Food Strategy, we know that there are still children and families who fall outside the eligibility criteria and it of course only applies to England.

“It is critical that these new measures, due to start next April, are available to all families and children who need them.

“In the meantime, the Winter Grant Scheme must be targeted and focused on reaching those most in need of support.

“We continue to urge administrations across the UK to ensure every child can access healthy and nutritious food, during this pandemic and beyond.”

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