Two people package food up at a foodbank centre

Supporting Food Providers with the ESO Community Fund

This year, our community fund is supporting 18 charities across the UK, helping them with their work to support communities throughout Covid-19.

Eight of the charities and organisations that we are supporting this year are food providers, supporting local communities by supplying food to people who are struggling to provide for themselves.

Foodbanks and food package suppliers have become even more vital since the Covid-19 pandemic began, whether people are unable to access food because they are isolating, or because they have lost their job as a result of the pandemic.

Food is something that so many of us take for granted but The UK’s food poverty rate is among the highest in Europe. Nearly six million adults and 1.7 million children were struggling to get enough food between September 2020 and February 2021.

Many of our colleagues across ESO applied for funding for charitable organisations that mean something to them, their friends and their families. We chose to support some of the organisations who are trying to end food poverty including:

Foodbank trolley in a supermarket

This is the second year that we have supported the Midlands Langar Seva society through the ESO Community Fund. Their vital work supports people who are homeless by providing food as well as clothing and other supplies. Bal Thandi, HR Manager for MLSS said “it is with donations like yours that MLSS can reach more people, provide support and eradicate hunger.” Homelessness has sadly increased over the last year as a result of Covid-19, emphasising the need for charities like this.

The Green Lane Masjid (GLMCC) foodbank has supported over 6,000 people since it began. Kamran Hussain, CEO of GLMCC commented, “Many of the people who attend our foodbank have fallen on hard times and find themselves struggling to make ends meet. Over the Covid pandemic, users of our foodbank quadrupled. Demand was so great that we had to open the foodbank 7 days a week.

“We now also run a door to door food delivery service for those who are forced to isolate, which includes the vulnerable and elderly. We are extremely grateful to National Grid ESO and its staff for their kind donation to our foodbank. This donation will go a long way in supporting people who find themselves struggling in these strange and difficult times.”

Another charity we have supported this year is Proof Bakery, an artisan sourdough bakery based in Coventry training and hiring refugees. CEO Chernise Neo said, “We are extremely grateful for the grant from National Grid ESO, which will go towards baking over 2,000 loaves and ciabatta for Foodbanks, Social Supermarkets, Grub Hubs and other community feeding projects locally, as well as purchasing an additional bread mixer so that we can continue baking for these projects while rebuilding our wholesale trade with restaurants reopening.”

Chernise also reminded us that supporting food producers is not just about feeding people but also about supporting the jobs that these organisations provide. “Not only will your grant have a significant impact on tackling local food poverty, it will also keep our bakers in work. As an artisan bakery that trains and employs refugee women, we are delighted to have received this boost from the ESO which will help our bakers to stay in the jobs that they have worked so hard to attain.”

If you would like to know more about the ESO community fund, click here.