Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation has awarded £14,280 to Letchworth Foodbank following an application to its COVID-19 Catalyst Grant Programme, which was set up to support local groups and charities impacted by the pandemic.
Letchworth Foodbank is a volunteer-led service providing emergency food aid to residents in North Hertfordshire, a service that has seen demand increase during the pandemic. The grant from the Foundation covers a large proportion of the charity’s annual operational costs for the next 12 months, enabling them to continue supporting families and individuals in the town who need help.
Foodbank Chairman Ciaran McGill said: “The Heritage Foundation is a fantastic supporter of the Foodbank, they made us Charity of The Year in 2019, collected food for us and more recently gave us the ticket refunds from the Broadway Theatre. The grant we receive covers the rent on our warehouse, but it means more than just that. It gives us the freedom to use our funds in other ways to help the less fortunate; it allows us to help clients with gas and electricity; provide food for holiday lunches for children on free school meals; instigate a Christmas Hamper initiative this year and consider how best to provide fresh food to clients. The grant comes just in time as we prepare for a second lockdown and a very uncertain 2021.”
From September 2019 to August 2020, Letchworth Foodbank provided 36.85 tonnes of food and £19,875 in supermarket vouchers. During this time, the foodbank saw more people accessing this help than in previous years and has supported more than 2,700 people across Letchworth. This work was made possible by donations from the public and businesses throughout the year.
Ciaran continued: “The Foundation also works with us to monitor the local area’s needs in order to target these areas for additional support. We have also worked with them and their outreach initiative, the Community Response Team, during and after lockdown, as they monitor and direct the availability of support within the Letchworth community. We look on ourselves as a partner to the Foundation, helping to relieve food poverty where we can.”
Alastair Stewart, Head of Grants, Communities & Partnerships at the Foundation said: “Working closely with community partners such as the Letchworth Foodbank enables The Foundation to get a true feel for needs within the community and how we can direct our funding to make a real difference. We are very proud to be able to play a part in supporting the Foodbank to carry out its very valuable work, which will be even more vital over the coming weeks and months.”
The Foodbank is part of the North Herts Food Provision Network and is a member of the Trussell Trust. The Trussell Trust is working nationally with major retailers and coordinating action such as food deliveries from Tesco.