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Rural Food Hub Network to bring food bank provision in rural locations across the borough

Rural Food Hub Network- van delivering bags of food to a village

Partnering with the Leicester South Foodbank and working with local community venues, Melton Borough Council is creating a Rural Food Hub Network, covering several areas across the borough.  

Funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the Rural Food Hub Network will respond to the challenge of supporting households in rural communities affected by cost-of-living pressures to access household essentials. The network aims to support a reduction in food insecurity across rural communities in Melton, whilst also supporting households in a way that enables continued households' independence and financial resilience. Melton Borough Council have been providing Cost of Living support to Melton residents, this support includes delivery of the Household Support Fund (HSF). During the delivery of this support the number of applications has increased considerably, and there has been a particular increase in requests from our rural communities. Transport and accessing support services have been identified as an issue in these areas, and that residents living in rural areas face significant challenges exasperated by both COVID-19 and Cost-of-Living pressures.  

The council have pinpointed the rural areas most in need, and satellite hubs in rural locations have been identified, which will be equipped to provide food and other household essentials. Users of the service will be signposted for further support, where needed.  

Eligible individuals will receive vouchers from The Community Support Hub which is run by Melton Borough Council to access this assistance, which must be presented to receive the items, food will not be able to be provided without the correct voucher. To be eligible for this emergency support users will need to provide evidence in relation to their financial hardship, this may be due to an emergency, or an ongoing financial issue and will be discussed and assessed at point of contact with The Community Support Hub. If users are not eligible, alternative support may be offered and further signposting as required. 

The Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Key Project Delivery, Cllr Pip Allnatt stated thatMany people in rural areas face significant challenges when it comes to accessing essential services, including food banks. This can be due to a range of factors, such as limited public transportation, lack of awareness of available resources, and financial constraints. We have been working to identify areas where a little extra support is most needed and develop ways to ensure that everyone in our community has access to the resources they need to thrive.” 

“By partnering with the Leicester South Foodbank, we hope to bridge this gap and bring much-needed support to those in need in our rural communities.” 

Bruce Harrison, Operational Manager for Leicester South Food Bank stated that “We have been supplying food in bulk (5,420kg) and emergency food parcels to Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire for several years, and through the COVID-19 crisis. In the Melton area, we have seen a 74% increase in demand on this time last year.  

“We have been approached by other food poverty organisations, local councillors and elected members in Melton, to adapt our current provision, in meeting the growing need, especially in the villages where communication links are limited or non-existent. In consultation with Melton Borough Council and support agencies in the area, we estimate that the community living in the villages that are unable or find it extremely difficult to access emergency or discounted food, will be the same if not greater in numbers than those currently able to access the support in Melton town centre. By adapting our current service, we can level up, and make access fairer for the rural residents of the borough.” 

To access this support, and to see if you are eligible for the vouchers, please contact The Community Support Hub on 01664 502342 or via email here4melton@melton.gov.uk

The Community Support Hub will carry out an assessment over the phone to discuss suitability for this support, and the details regarding the collection point and times will be given at this point. Food bags can only be collected from the satellite hubs in the rural villages on receipt of a voucher. Please see Melton Borough Council’s website www.melton.gov.uk/RuralFood for further information, including the location of current satellite hubs. 

13 February 2024