Covid-19 has brought tremendous challenges on all aspects of our society. As a result of the pressure exerted on the food system from demand (panic buying), availability of resource (staff and volunteers) and closure of public services (e.g. children accessing Free School meals, day centres for older adults) there were, and continue to be, three main challenges:
- People being unable to afford food in crisis;
- People who are unable to access food (self-isolation, service closures etc.);
- Local food businesses unable to open (having knock-on effects on food supply, workers’ income etc.).
We have heard from various food organisations across Cardiff that the scale and the nature of the support they are providing has changed dramatically and rapidly since the start of the crisis. To coordinate, expand and amplify the incredible response, Food Cardiff convened the Covid-19 Food Response Task Group, which set up a network of Anchor Organisations and Food Response Partners.
Food Cardiff, together with partners in the Food Response Task Group, have produced a new report outlining Cardiff’s food response between March and June 2020 along with recommendations to tackle food insecurity into the future.
The recommendations from the report are:
- Cardiff Council adopt the approved method for measuring Food Insecurity (USDA Food Insecurity Module) in city-wide surveys e.g. Ask Cardiff 2020 to monitor levels of food insecurity in the city;
- Food Cardiff Partners to maximise support to the shielded group through existing support mechanisms, prioritising income maximisation (e.g. Discretionary Assistance Fund, benefits checks), digital access (e.g. online shopping) and raising awareness of local food infrastructure (e.g. voluntary shopping services);
- Any future provision for food parcels for those shielding should meet the Government recommended dietary guidelines (Eatwell Guide), plus take account of dietary and cultural needs and provide for the whole household. This should apply to any provision whether delivered through a national Welsh Government or local Cardiff Council scheme;
- Food Cardiff partners to continue to ensure Cardiff residents have access to good quality advice in order to maximise income, for example by further rolling out Food-Related Benefits Training and Nutrition Skills For Life to public and third sector services;
- Cardiff Council to continue to provide Free School Meals or equivalent provision across term-time, including to those with no recourse to public funds. Maximise the uptake of FSM to existing and newly entitled families, by ensuring ease of access and by raising awareness;
- Cardiff Council to map holiday provision needs across Cardiff and ensure quality assured holiday provision is available for vulnerable and food insecure children across the city. Maximise the number of vulnerable and food insecure children attending Cardiff Council run provision, including the School Holiday Enrichment Programme;
- Food Cardiff Partners to learn from and continue developing the Anchor Organisation and Food Response Partner network to link voluntary and third sector support with local authority services.
 N.b. Shielded parcel contents were previously determined by Welsh Government. Adequate funding would need to be provided in order to meet this recommendation.