Food banks still in limbo despite extension of Household Support Fund

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s extension of the household support fund (HSF) has been met with a mixture of relief and anxiety as food banks remain in limbo, unsure whether they will be allocated the funding by councils.

The HSF is an £800million support fund which helps the most vulnerable households with essential food and energy costs.

The six-month extension, announced with yesterday’s budget, follows extensive lobbying from campaign groups which described the fund as a “lifeline for families”.

Brixton-based charity the Healthy Living Platform (HLP) hosts weekly pantries across Lambeth, offering low-cost, healthy food.

Carla Thomas, c0-managing director of HLP, said: “While we welcome yesterday’s announcement, we still don’t know if we will be allocated any funds.

“With less than a month before this year’s fund is due to end, we face weeks of further uncertainty watching our stocks run out.

“Our sector is constantly chasing funding to keep services running. How are we supposed to prepare the community for changes if we are not selected?

“The sector is already stretched, with high competition for the little funding that is out there.”

Ms Thomas said not receiving the fund again means the group will rely on surplus food donations and some groups will stop receiving food altogether.

Lambeth council has been approached for comment.

Pictured top: Front row from left, pantry volunteers Lucy Thomas, Lizzie Durham, Petrina Goode, Doreen Nembhard and (Back right) Jon Woodason (Picture: Carla Thomas)

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