As we enter our third week of physical distancing, Food Futures has collated information about schemes that are responding to the lockdown and emergency food needs in Lancaster District- both now and in the future. Schemes to be aware of include:
The Urgent Response Fund
The Morecambe Bay Foundation has set up an Urgent Response Fund to provide financial support to community organisations across Lancaster District that are working to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Local organisations, including Morecambe Bay Foodbank and The Olive Branch, food clubs (via Eggcup) and community centres, will be supported initially by this fund as they scale up their operations to meet the demand for access to food from the most vulnerable members in our communities. If you are able, please donate generously at: ww.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/coronavirus. To check if you are eligible to apply for a grant and for full details, visit ww.lancastercvs.org.uk/funding/coronavirus.
CVS are also helping to coordinate the matching of enthusiastic volunteers with organisations in need of volunteers. Visit their website for more information.
Emergency Food Provision
To support vulunerable people in crises Lancaster City Council and Morecambe Bay Foodbank have launched a partnership to co-ordinate and deliver emergency food parcels to people across the District as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. To register as a referral agency, to refer a person in need or to get emergency food support visit: lancasterdistrictcovid19.org.uk
CVS are helping to coordinate the matching of enthusiastic volunteers with organisations in need of volunteers. If you are a business or organisation in need of volunteers, to support your emergency response to Covid 19, complete CVS’s online questionnaire. They will then support you in finding the right volunteers for you. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdEepJrpGjg6bxK_IPOI2Q8qdtSde1frXjuQn-o2gUo9hmyGQ/viewform
If you would like to volunteer, visit lancastercvs.org.uk for more information and to get involved.
Surplus food distribution
EggCup, Lancaster’s surplus food distribution hub, is also appealing to businesses holding stock that is now surplus to donate it to support people in crisis. This includes raw ingredients, food in need of processing or packaging, as well as customer-ready stock. The EggCup team can collect, or can receive delivery at the following address: Eggcup, Lansil Way, Lansil Industrial Estate, Caton Road, Lancaster LA1 3QY.
EggCup also need volunteers, including drivers for moving around food supplies and for delivering bags of food to people in isolation. Please contact David France for more details (07704 171597 / firstname.lastname@example.org).
Growing Your Own
Allotments and community gardens are still operating, albeit under restricted conditions, to offer access to green space and locally grown food whilst respecting strict physical distancing measures and processes. For example, Claver Hill Community Farm has a strict volunteer rota and processes in place to support with the maintenance of the site whilst respecting strict physical distancing measures. A sunday rota has also been implemented to support the safe collection of salad bags and eggs from the site’s entrance. To learn more about how to use community gardens and allotments safely, see a summary on FoodFutures website: www.foodfutures.org.uk/2020/03/26/enjoying-community-gardens-safely/
To support Claver Hill see its Facebook page @Spud Club at Claver Hill
Small local food businesses are going to rely on our support to survive this pandemic and beyond. If you have the income to do it, buy gift certificates from local restaurants and pubs so they have the cash flow to keep going. You could also use the Vouch For The Future website to support this: vouch.gifts
If your local bakery, green grocer, farm or butcher is still open, buy direct from them rather than the supermarkets.
A website has also been created to highlight local food delivery options.
A land army?
FoodFutures has created an online survey for local farmers and food businesses- to identify local needs and offers during this Covid-19 lockdown. Please share this survey widely and encourage people to complete it by20th April: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CT5KKLS
FoodFutures will respond to needs raised in the survey. (We expect potential needs to include a Land Army of volunteers to help on farms; a system to distribute surplus produce; an online local food delivery network or farmers market).
We will also continue to progress the set up of Lancaster’s FarmStart scheme this summer – a scheme to support new entrants into sustainable farming that seeks to create a ring of kitchen gardens around Lancaster District that grow produce for selling locally. We will be launching a FoodFriends scheme over the coming months to support this initiative.
Other ways the public can help their community during this pandemic and beyond:
- Support Morecambe and Lancaster Foodbanks financially by donating at: https://www.the-olivebranch.org.uk/donate/ https://morecambebay.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-money/
- Raise your voice for income support for all out of work and vulnerable during this pandemic and beyond. citizensincome.org
- Sign the petition calling on the government to pull together an Emergency “Land Army” package to protect our Local Food Supply: