Wirral’s Emergency Food Hub is being re-instated to make sure vulnerable local people don’t go hungry during the new national lockdown.
The Council is joining forces with Wirral Foodbank to coordinate food collection and distribution operations at the Hub, which will be managed by Wirral Council.
The current emergency food support arrangements, which allow vulnerable residents to apply for a foodbank voucher that is redeemed for a 3-day supply of food at one of Wirral Foodbank’s distribution centres, will cease later today (Friday 8 January) and the Foodbank will relocate its resources to the new Hub for the duration of the lockdown.
From Monday morning (11 January), the Emergency Food Hub will be a key part of a new coordinated referral system with Wirral Foodbank. All requests for emergency food will be managed through the Council’s Coronavirus helpline (tel. 0151 666 5050). Under the new system all applicants will be asked a few questions to determine their need and, if successful, will have a food hamper delivered to their door containing a week’s supply of essential items, including fruit and vegetables, dried and tinned food.
The Leader of Wirral Council, Councillor Janette Williamson, said:
“For four months last year our Emergency Food Hub provided a vital lifeline, delivering more than 18,000 food boxes to feed local people. We were able to wind it down at the end of July when shielding restrictions were paused and COVID-19 infection rates were a fraction of what we are seeing today.
“The new national lockdown and the re-instatement of shielding means that some vulnerable people and some of those self-isolating will be unable to get to the shops themselves and may not have a support network in place to help them with essential shopping. This facility will help us make sure that nobody is left without the food they need.”
The Emergency Food Hub will be operated by Council staff re-deployed from other services, including libraries and leisure centres, in partnership with staff and volunteers from Wirral Foodbank. Wirral Foodbank manager, Richard Roberts, said:
“Once again we will be consolidating our efforts at the Emergency Food Hub to help vulnerable people get through the weeks ahead. By working together, we have the best chance of ensuring local people do not go hungry during these challenging times. Thank you to our wonderful staff and volunteers and the people of Wirral for their continued support during this difficult situation.”
Wirral Foodbank is still accepting donations at many supermarkets across Wirral. Details of how you can support their work or donate online is available on their website at www.wirral.foodbank.org.uk.
A wide range of support is also available for vulnerable residents who are able to pay for their food. This includes priority supermarket delivery slots, which are offered to people who are vulnerable because of COVID-19 or clinically extremely vulnerable. People who must self-isolate because they have COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has contracted the virus can also apply for priority slots.
People in need of support are also encouraged to visit the Wirral Infobank website, which provides information on a wide range of local services, including help with shopping, social supermarkets (offering cut price food) and hot food deliveries.
A number of local organisations can also help people who can pay for their food but are unable to get to the shops themselves; please call the Coronavirus helpline on 0151 666 5050 to discuss the options available.
To apply for emergency food support or a priority supermarket delivery slot, please call Wirral’s Coronavirus helpline on 0151 666 5050 or complete the short online application. The helpline can also advise on assistance that may be available from Age UK Wirral for anyone digitally excluded.