Kent Community Foundation distributes almost two years funding in under two months

In a typical year, Kent Community Foundation would normally award around £50,000 to food distribution projects as well as £40,000 to cookery projects including those supporting healthy eating. By comparison, since the county went into lockdown, on 23 March, the Foundation has awarded £200,000, more than twice the usual amount awarded in a year, to projects helping to feed families in Kent and Medway

Natalie Smith, Director of Grants and Impact, Kent Community Foundation, said “Kent Community Foundation has made fifty emergency grants to groups involved in food distribution. As well as emergency grants to food banks, funding has also been given to other support groups including church groups, day centres, and befriending groups, who are all distributing food to meet the increased need during this pandemic.”

It is estimated that 3 million people have gone hungry in the U.K. since the Covid-19 lockdown began and in the south east, more than 1 in 10 (13%) say they are food insecure, lacking reliable access to a sufficient affordable, nutritious food.  Food banks throughout the county have been inundated with requests for support and Kent Community Foundation has received an unprecedented rise in requests for emergency funding. Many who are seeking help from food banks, have never been in this position before, have always worked, have never claimed benefits or been to a job centre, so just knowing they can access free food is a real relief for them.

Natalie Smith, continued, “Food banks tell us that they have a huge shortage of basic items because shoppers have not been donating in the same way as before the lockdown and the number of families needing help has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, we know that the situation will only worsen as people face more financial difficulties through furlough, redundancy, businesses closing and people having had to use their savings to get through the last few months. The increased demand on food banks will be a huge problem for the county for quite some time as hundreds of  families who were just about able to cope pre COVID-19 now find themselves needing support from food banks to feed their loved ones.”

FareShare Kent, was awarded £8,000 from the KCF Coronavirus Emergency Fund

Ian Townsend-Blazier, Business Development Manager, FareShare Kent, said, “During these challenging times we have seen an increase in demand for our Family Food Bank service. Currently the demand has increased by 240% compared to this time last year. Thankfully we have been able to meet this demand due to the general public’s kind donations of food, money and voluntary time, as well as support from grant funders and the food industry. In order to meet this demand we have developed new working models with existing partners, and joined up with new organisations such as social services, schools, colleges, community food hubs, etc. to reach more communities in need, to help feed the most vulnerable across Kent. Again, we would like to thank everyone for their support during this time!”

Canterbury Food Bank was awarded £7,000 from the KCF Coronavirus Emergency Fund

Martin Ward, Chair of Trustees, Canterbury Food Bank, says, “There is no doubt the pandemic has tested the mettle of the food bank, but through the dedication of our staff, volunteers and the generosity of supporters such as Kent Community Foundation, we have risen to meet the challenges. In the first fortnight of the crisis Canterbury Food Bank spent four times more on food than it had done in the previous three years. Without the generosity of donations we would have not only been unable to purchase food to keep the warehouse shelves stocked, but we would have also struggled to keep the van on the road and to pay for extra staff hours so vital to the smooth running of the food bank.”

To find out more about funding from the Kent Community Foundation Coronavirus Emergency Fund visit  www.kentcf.org.uk/funding/Coronavirusemergencyfund

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