First free food boxes delivered to vulnerable across Wales

Picture by Matthias Zomer

The first food boxes supplied under the Welsh Government’s direct delivery food scheme are currently being delivered across Wales to those most at risk from coronavirus.

More than 80,000 people have been written to by the Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Frank Atherton, asking them to undertake shielding measures – including staying at home for 12 weeks – as they are classed as extremely vulnerable to serious illness if exposed to the virus.

Everyone in this group who is not able to call on help from family, friends or neighbours while shielding, will receive support from the government, including a free weekly food box.

£15 million has been made available to fund the scheme which enables people to apply for the food packages from their local authority.

Each box will provide a week’s supply for one person. A typical package will contain staples such as long-life milk, tinned produce, pasta, toilet roll, breakfast cereal, some fruit and vegetables and bread. Households with two or more vulnerable occupants will receive an additional box per person.

 

‘Essential’

Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James said: “We are asking a great deal of people to shield themselves for up to 12 weeks and in return we must ensure those without family and friends they can call on to help, have support so they can stay at home safely.

“We have worked very closely with local authorities to get this scheme up and running in a matter of days. I am grateful to them for all the work they have done in co-ordinating these food box deliveries.”

Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths added: “This is understandably a worrying time for all of our communities across Wales, particularly those who have been asked to undertake these shielding measures and who are unable to draw on the support of others for food deliveries.

“Our new weekly food boxes will provide essential food for people who are shielding and need support. It is great to see the boxes arriving on people’s doorsteps.”

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John Ellis
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John Ellis

So at least this scheme seems to be working in Wales? I listened to a radio consumer advice prgramme a couple of days back which suggested that at least in some parts of England it simply wasn’t functioning: sure, eligible people had been notified that they were eligible and that they needed to contact their GP practice to learn about how it will operate. But when they had contacted their GP practice, they were told that the practice knew nothing about it, and were in no way involved in the programme’s implementation.

M Jones
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M Jones

I have a neighbour that is in the position of complete isolation for 12 weeks, l would like to know how they could apply for the free food boxes that l have read about