Hounslow joins campaign to tackle unprecedented hunger this winter as Universal Credit claims almost double

Hounslow Council in coalition with London Councils have joined forces to launch the COVID Community Campaign as the pandemic drives more families in the borough and across London into food poverty.

Published: Thursday, 14th January 2021

Covid Community Campaign
Covid Community Campaign

Reliance on Hounslow Community FoodBox has increased by 300% during the pandemic and the number of people in the borough on Universal Credit * has almost doubled since the start of last year.

Leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Steve Curran, was on the front-line during December to help deliver emergency food parcels to residents, as a volunteer. He said:

“I have seen first-hand the swift and devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on lives, businesses, jobs and communities in Hounslow.

“Many of our residents have been forced into situations; struggling to pay for food and the bare essentials. No child should go hungry, no parent should go hungry to feed their children and no one should be left desperate with nowhere to turn this winter.

“The last year has been really tough, but COVID-19 has shown the best of our community with people coming together to help others during this time of need. We need your support now more than ever, and I would urge you to visit www.covidcommunitycampaign.co.uk to find out how you can lend your support.”

Hounslow is projected to be one of the hardest hit boroughs economically due to the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown. Official forecasts show an estimated £1bn hit to the borough’s economy and more than 40,000 jobs at risk. Residents adjusting to a loss of income, life on universal credit or unemployment as a result of COVID-19 are increasingly likely to struggle to access nutritious food.

In response to this emergency the Council has provided:

  • £2,884,950.00 council tax hardship funding to 19,233 households in the borough.  
  • Allocation of £556,826 to 55 organisations through our Hounslow Response Fund between May and November 2020.
  • £66K through the DEFRA funding Local Authority Emergency Response Fund to seven community organisations, including foodbanks and hot meal providers.

The Council also stepped in to provide food vouchers over the school half-term to all Hounslow families in receipt of benefits with children up to the age of 18.

Money raised will be distributed amongst the campaign’s charity partners - The Trussell Trust, FareShare, Magic Breakfast and Social Bite - and 20% of proceeds will go to local charities in each participating Council’s area, including here in Hounslow.

* From January 2020 to October 2020 the number of local people in Hounslow receiving Universal Credit increased by 92%. Data for November 2020 will be published by central Government on 26 January 2021. Source: DWP Stat-Xplore, People on Universal Credit, updated monthly - Stat-Xplore - Log in (dwp.gov.uk)

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