Over 7,000 children, young people and their families to receive food vouchers and Christmas hampers funded by us.

Supported by the Bay’s Education and Voluntary and Community Sector this has been made possible after the council secured £700,000 from two central government grants – the Food Grant and the Winter Grant Scheme. This extra funding is to provide support to those who may be struggling to buy food, provide meals and purchase electricity over this festive period.

Early Years, Schools and Post 16 providers have worked with the council to identify eligible children and young people. Schools and other educational establishments have purchased food vouchers with the money given by the council. This means children, young people and their families who receive state benefits, will receive £40 per child. This follows a decision made by the council who have committed to supporting all low income families, not just those who qualify for free school meals.

The Torbay Food Alliance will be using the Food Grant funding to create and distribute more than 500 Christmas hampers to individuals and families across Torbay. The Alliance, a consortium of 10 community organisations who are part of the Community Helpline, have received a total of £174,500  in government grants from Torbay Council since it formed in March. With this, they have provided over 290,000 meals to Torbay residents who are in need.

Councillor Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said: “Once again we wanted to make sure we can support those who are most at need during this Christmas period.  This time of year can be a hard time financially, but in the midst of a pandemic we all need to be supporting those who may be struggling to put food on the table for themselves and their families.”

Councillor Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader of Torbay Council, said: “This COVID Winter Grant Scheme funding comes from the Department of Work and Pensions and has enabled us to set our own criteria to ensure the money reaches those most in need. We will ensure there is further funding available in time for February half-term as well.”

The Christmas Hampers will not only include fresh produce and special Christmas treats but also presents for them to put under the tree to open on Christmas day. The Torbay Salvation Armies have worked together on a toy appeal and over 400 have been donated to make sure children have something under the tree. Eat That Frog are also providing toys.

Feed A Child Torbay are providing special Christmas meals and small gifts to schools and children’s centres. PATH will also be providing emergency parcels and hot meals, including a real Christmas dinner, right through the bank holidays; to make sure nobody need go hungry.

Emma Seaman, Marketing Manager at Eat That Frog, speaking on behalf of the Torbay Food Alliance said: “The support for our community work from Torbay Council since March has been exemplary. We've appreciated the financial grants that enabled us to extend our usual work with vulnerable local people. Just as important though has been the spirit of co-operation that has really flourished in Torbay as a result of the council and voluntary sector staff talking to each other and taking time to understand what our communities need.

“Eat That Frog have been able to support more people this year, in a really meaningful way, and to target those who need the most help, like the elderly, shielding patients, care home residents and struggling families. Providing our vital community services would have been much harder without the collaboration of Food Alliance partners and Torbay Council, and as a result, this Christmas will be a little brighter for many people in Torbay."

To find out more about the work of the Torbay Food Alliance and to watch a video which shows the story of the Alliance and who they have helped, visit www.torbayfoodalliance.org.

To make a referral to Torbay Food Alliance, or to offer help, you can contact the Community Helpline on 01803 446022, which is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm or on Saturday from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Alternatively, you can go online at bit.ly/torbayhelpline.  

Referrals can also be requested through the Torbay Adult Social Care teams, Torbay Council teams, GPs, schools, Torbay Citizens Advice and Torbay Jobcentres.

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