WRAP confirms over £4m of funding has been assigned through the government's surplus food redistribution grant schemes
The first wave of funding under the government's COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant has been confirmed today, with nearly 90 not-for-profit organisations across England set to receive assistance.
Launched in early April, the grant scheme is designed to help distributors of surplus food adapt to the disruption caused by the coronavirus lockdown, which saw shopping habits change and restaurants and pubs shut down, reducing access to surplus food for distributors at a time when demand for such food from food banks soared.
The fund was launched with £3.25m, and was expanded with an additional £1.6m from the government in May.
The scheme has been administered by waste and resources charity WRAP, which today announced that a total of £669,901 has been allocated to 80 small not-for-profits, with a further £402,451 awarded to nine medium and larger charities.
Moreover, WRAP and Defra have extended the closing date for applications for small grants worth up to £10,000 and will now accept applications up to 13:00 on Friday 3rd July 2020.
"I am absolutely delighted that we have been entrusted by Defra to deliver this much-needed grant scheme, and that we've been able to help so many organisations in such a short space of time," said Peter Maddox, director at WRAP. "The interest we've received every day shows that this is a vital support for many charities. I am pleased that we can extend the time for the smaller grassroot charities, which often operate with much fewer resources and staff."
The news was welcomed by Environment Minister Rebecca Pow who said the coronavirus pandemic had "highlighted to us all the value of food and, more than ever, we must ensure good food does not go to waste".
"This funding will help redistribution organisations across the country continue their crucial work, ensuring all quality, nutritious food reaches those who need it," she added.
The COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant was created from the overarching £18m Resource Action Fund, which is also managed by WRAP on behalf of Defra and is designed to tackle a range of different waste streams.
Alongside today's emergency grants, WRAP today also confirmed the first recipients of £3.2m under the Resource Action Fund Food Waste Prevention Grants to 17 food redistribution projects in England.
Thirteen small and medium projects have received funding worth nearly £1.2m, while funding of nearly £2m has been awarded for to four larger projects in London, Manchester and Lincoln to fund capital infrastructure, additional storage space, cold and frozen food storage, air blast freezing for chilled and bakery food, and re-labelling equipment.
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