Although it is some time since I was personally involved in FareShare Sussex I am proud that the scheme which I helped set up in Brighton and Hove, now serves a huge number of charities throughout Sussex and into Surrey. It is continuing to extend its work and regularly works alongside foodbanks throughout our region. One of my interests is when MPs and Peers choose to refer to the work of FareShare and there has been a much higher level of interest in recent months than was the case in the past. On Wednesday, the second day after the House of Commons re-opened following the closure because of COVID-19 and Easter, the MP for Nottingham North, Alex North asked the following question. “To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to support the expansion of the FareShare network during the covid-19 outbreak.” It appears that George Eustice was not in the House at the time and so one of his colleagues Victoria Prentis responded to Alex North’s question with the following response. It is very encouraging that the Government is now treating FareShare and indeed other food based charities such as foodbanks which they used to treat very poorly, much better.
We are working closely with FareShare and other food aid organisations to identify the impacts COVID-19 is having on front-line charities that provide food, and to ensure that those who are financially vulnerable have access to food and essential supplies. We have worked with FareShare to quantify the current and forecast supply and demand of food to food aid charities, including the hundreds of charities who have asked for FareShare’s support since COVID-19. We welcome the efforts of the food industry to support food aid organisations, including the FareShare network, through pledges of donations of food and funds. We are working through the Food and Essential Supplies to the Vulnerable Ministerial Task Force to identify where Government can best support front-line food charities, in the context of the gap between supply and demand, and the support already shown by the food industry.