Local action to tackle food insecurity: summary of activities, trends and learning

This report summarises the activities delivered by local authorities using flexible funding streams on financial insecurity over October 2020 – March 2021, and highlights trends and learning to enhance future policy and practice.

Funding context 2020-2021

Local authorities have been provided with a number of flexible funding streams during the pandemic to tackle financial insecurity and support people to access food and other essentials. These funds have provided substantial local discretion to respond and adapt to local need, with national Guidance in place to assist in the targeting and deployment of resources.

Flexible funding made available in 2020-21 includes:

  • £15 million to tackle food insecurity through the Food Fund, April – June 2020
  • £15 million to tackle food insecurity through the Food and Other Essentials Fund, July – September 2020
  • £20 million to tackle financial insecurity, October 2020 – March 2021
  • £20 million to tackle financial insecurity, February 2021

A further £30 million flexible fund was put in place to support those impacted by public health restrictions from October 2020 onwards, though this is coordinated by the Shielding Directorate and was not directly within the scope of local engagements.

The flexible investments were bolstered by national interventions, including £57.5 million invested in the Scottish Welfare Fund and Self-Isolation Support Grants, over £56 million to provide free school meal alternatives during school holidays and remote learning, £30.8 million for Pandemic Support Payments, and £50.3 million for shielding grocery parcels. Further to this, over £80 million was invested in community and third sector organisations across the Wellbeing, Supporting Communities, and Third Sector Recovery Funds which include supporting a range of food based activity alongside wider wellbeing action.

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