Update on work Visionary has been involved with on food for vulnerable people

Visionary, working alongside key sight loss sector organisations and a wide range of other key national organisations, are part of a DEFRA (Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs) working group which is tackling issues on food vulnerability.

The below is the most recent update upon the groups work.

If you have any concerns about people who are struggling with access to food due to Covid-19, especially due to shielding and/or a disability, then please do contact us and we will help sign post you to appropriate support.

Non-Shielded Vulnerable:

  • 42 Local Authority entities covering 86 LA areas are currently onboarded onto the supermarket referrals system and are actively referring NSV people for Tesco and Iceland delivery slots. This is a voluntary service for Local Authorities to sign up to and participant numbers are continuing to rise daily
  • The scheme has also been expanded to include charities with national coverage. RNIB are currently taking part in a trial, referring people either directly, or on behalf of other smaller charities who have signposted their users to the RNIB to be referred for a delivery slot with Iceland. We are actively working with another 3 charities to bring them on board in the next stage of the Iceland trial, w/c 8th All 4 charities will also ultimately have the option to refer users for Tesco slots as well, once the necessary legal agreements are in place
  • Supermarket delivery slots are just one option open to local authorities in responding to people with food access needs. We have shared a detailed list of commercial food offers with local authorities and charities, some of which can be accessed over the phone, to enable them to signpost people to the most appropriate offer locally and continue to keep that updated as offers change and new ones become available

Economically Vulnerable:

  • FareShare has purchased 500 tonnes of food to distribute to frontline charities and organisations supporting those affected by COVID-19 who are experiencing an increase in demand
  • The COVID-19 Food Charity Grant Fund has awarded 31 organisations with funding. Organisations who are supporting a range of different vulnerable groups who cannot afford food which includes: the elderly, the homeless and parents

Food Boxes:

  • We have received the first week’s results from the user survey of shielding scheme recipients. KPIs exceeded the minimum targets with satisfaction of delivery at 98%
  • We have been supporting the development of procurement strategy and contract specifications
  • We have also been finalising the pricing of any potential box content changes
  • Work is ongoing around the procurement strategy with the Treasury and Cabinet Office, to finalise policy input into the contract specification and to start informally testing the market

Next Week:

  • We will continue to work with FareShare to carry on providing food to front line charities
  • We will continue to assess proposals for the Food Charity Grant Scheme to get funding to those who need more food to distribute
  • We will be undertaking market engagement to understand what options for a future scheme might be
  • Working on any agreed box content changes and next steps on possible future procurement
  • We will be finalising work on the supermarket referrals web portal to streamline the process for LAs and charities and facilitate the onboarding of more LAs
  • Working with APHA to agree the approach, remit and delivery plan for a contact centre to support LAs and charities with supermarket referrals related queries
  • Widening the RNIB trial to include 3 additional national charities
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