Food Vulnerabilities Directorate, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
As millions of people were shielding, Defra set up the Food Vulnerability Directorate to support the food needs of people who were shielding, vulnerable people struggling to access food but not shielding, and people economically vulnerable as a result of COVID-19. The directorate oversaw the delivery of over five million food packages to shielding households, engaged with supermarkets to prioritise shielding people for delivery slots, and built a referral service to enable local authorities and selected charities to refer vulnerable individuals for access to prioritised supermarket slots. The team secured £16m from the DCMS Charity Fund to support economically vulnerable people, providing food to over 5,000 frontline charities. Analysis conducted by the team suggested that children, ethnic minorities, and young people were disproportionately affected, resulting in the team leading a successful bid to HMT, securing £63m to be administered through local authorities, aimed at 250,000 people experiencing acute hunger.