Coronavirus (Covid-19) Local Authority emergency assistance grant for food and essential supplies

On 11 June DEFRA announced an additional £63 million was to be distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to coronavirus. The DEFRA guidance advises that local authorities should:

  • Use the funding to meet immediate need and help those who are struggling to afford food and essentials due to COVID-19. 
  • Use the funding for existing schemes and other support which deliver the same outcomes and where the need is greatest. 
  • That when deciding how to help people, local authorities should also consider advising and providing information to people to help them access longer term support they might need e.g. benefits.

What are the aims of the grant in Plymouth?    

The main overarching aims are:

  • To build the capacity of the food sector in the city to ensure that people who are struggling to afford food and other essentials because of the impact of COVID are able to access it.  
  • In the event of a future local lockdown, the sector would be able to respond and provide food to those who were referred by the City Council and partners as part of Caring for Plymouth.

More specifically, the aims are to:

  • Increase the capacity of smaller and grassroots organisations who helped to distribute food to people during COVID-19 to cope with demand, in particular, during a further outbreak of COVID-19.  
  • To provide funding to organisations who are able to reach particularly vulnerable groups of people. 
  • To also ensure that anchor organisations such as Wellbeing and Family Hubs can distribute food to local people and families who are struggling. All of this funding will be awarded with agreed outcomes.
  • To support organisations who are developing self-help approaches to food.

Who is the target audience to receive support from the grant?

The grant is to be used to ensure that food and essential supplies are available to all those in need. 

Specifically, the government guidance suggests the following groups are to be supported but Local Authorities are able to target other groups that they identify as needing help in their local area: 

  1. The newly unemployed and those seeking universal credit 
  2. Vulnerable adults i.e. Those isolating/shielding
  3. People who are homeless
  4. Families and children (children who are under school age or are not receiving free school meals)
  5. Individuals with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) such as immigrants where there are genuine community care needs, they have serious health problems or there is a risk to a child’s wellbeing 
  6. People who are struggling financially or otherwise due to Covid: (The continued impact of COVID-19 will mean that increasing numbers of people are expected to find themselves in financial difficulty and thus may have periods when they have no food). 

How much is the grant award?

  • The maximum amount of grant that can be applied for is £10,000 per organisation.

Who is eligible to apply and what are the expectations of applicants?


  • Grants will only go to organisations not to individuals. 
  • Grants will be given to constituted groups, charities and social enterprises who can provide food and essential items to individuals and families in need either through buying, storage or distribution. 
  • Open to any organisation that can help to achieve the aims and objectives listed 
  • The organisation will need to be constituted, not for profit and have a bank account 


Applicants will be expected to:

  • Demonstrate how this funding will provide additional support to those in need through either:
    • An expanded service e.g. increased operating hours or
    • An increase in numbers e.g. Increase in the number of times a person can receive food/essential supplies as a result of this grant

The funding will not pay for current levels of activity.

  • Work in partnership with other organisations to reach people e.g. Wellbeing Hubs, Childrens’ Centres, Refugee & Asylum Seeker Organisations, Neighbourhood & Community Groups, Voluntary Sector, Out of Hours Service etc 
  • Become a member of FareShare
  • Provide monitoring data returns of how they have spent the grant. This will include:
    • The postcodes of their beneficiaries
    • The number of meals provided
    • Increased operating hours
  • Applicants are encouraged to source their food from local providers

What do I need to do to apply?

You will need to include the following information to complete your application:

  • Contact name/email address and telephone number
  • Company or Charity number
  • Bank account number/sort code

The closing date for the first round of applications is 5pm on Thursday 15 October 2020.

Grant application form

Apply for an Emergency Food Grant

When will a grant payment be received and who makes the decision on awarding?

  • The council will issue grant payments in two stages e.g. October to December 2020 and January to March 2021, on receipt of initial completed three month data returns.
  • The money is to be spent within six months by March 2021
  • All applications will be assessed by an approval panel comprised of representatives from the following:
    • Public Health
    • Plymouth City Council Finance Team
    • Social Care
    • Food Plymouth

What do I do if i need help with my application?

If you have any difficulties with submitting your application, please call 01752 304020.