Extra support to help people access food and essentials

Release Date: 06 October 2020

Over £120,000 has been awarded to three local voluntary organisations to support residents who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. 

The funding will enable further cash grants, vouchers and food and hygiene parcels to be distributed to local residents who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Last month the Government awarded Richmond Council additional funding to help support local people who are struggling to afford food and other essential supplies.

Citizens Advice Richmond, Richmond AID and RUILS have come together to offer a co-ordinated offer of support. They will use the funding to help pay for:

  • Cash and vouchers for individuals and families towards the cost of food and essential items
  • An enhanced advice service to help residents manage their situation and access longer term support e.g. benefits or debt advice
  • RUILS’ Food and Hygiene Hub providing essential supplies to people who are unable to go to the shops, are isolating or cannot afford food

Cllr Michael Wilson, Spokesperson for Communities, Equalities and the Voluntary Sector, said:

“Since the start of the pandemic, the response to this crisis from local volunteer groups has been brilliant. Thousands and thousands of food parcels have been delivered to people all over the borough. And sadly, as the furlough scheme comes to an end, we will undoubtedly see a rise in unemployment, therefore we anticipate that the demands on food and other essentials will continue throughout the winter.

“No one should go hungry because they can’t afford to buy food. If you need help – get in touch now.” 

Lucy Byrne, CEO of Richmond AID, said:

“Richmond AID is pleased to be working with Citizens Advice Richmond and the local authority in distributing this grant to people who desperately need it. As food poverty continues to increase as a result of reduction in income, unemployment, housing, benefits and debt issue this grant will make a huge difference to people impacted by COVID.”

Simon Lawson from Richmond Citizens Advice, added:

"Citizens Advice Richmond has remained open throughout the pandemic with all of our services moving online and via the phone where residents have been able to speak directly to an adviser.  We are helping a record number of clients deal with issues and we expect this to increase further in the coming months. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic people are struggling to cope with redundancy, claiming benefits, rising debts and threats of homelessness, so this new fund is going to help residents in real need."

Cathy Maker from RUILS, added:

“Over the last 6 months, the need for welfare boxes has grown substantially with just under 100 households receiving a weekly delivery from our Food Hub. This funding will enable us to continue to deliver this vital service over the winter months.”

If you need help accessing food or other supplies, contact:

Households with children that are affected by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship can apply to the Richmond COVID-19 Hardship Fund for supermarket vouchers.

The Council also provides grants through the Local Assistance Scheme for residents experiencing financial hardship.

Notes for the editor

Citizens Advice Richmond is an independent local charity providing information and advice to anyone who lives, works or studies in Richmond borough. Our service is free, confidential and impartial. We empower people to resolve their problems and change their lives for the better. We are a member of the national Citizens Advice service, a network of around 270 local advice centres.

Richmond AID provide a range of support for people with health conditions, disabilities and carers. We can provide advice and information on a range of areas including health and social care, benefits, debt and other services such as our more. We are also running a food hub in partnership with RUILS. If you are struggling financially as a result of COVID we can assess your eligibility for this grant or direct, you to the best source of support for you.

Ruils is a local charity that supports disabled children and adults and the elderly to live independently, be part of their community and to live life to the full. They provide information, advice, befriending, practical support and community activities to our clients and their families. Working with partners Richmond AID, the Hygiene Bank and Hampton and Hampton Hill Voluntary Care, they are providing a home delivery Foodbank to the Richmond community.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P395/20

Updated: 20 October 2020