LOCAL food banks in Cherwell stand to benefit from a share of £70,000 in government grant funding.

Cherwell District Council’s Community Hub Emergency Relief Fund is designed to support the voluntary and community organisations which run food banks and other similar schemes.

The council is urging organisations to apply for up to £5,000 to meet the needs of residents who are struggling to afford food and other essentials.

ALSO READ: Councillors say Cherwell council free meal efforts are 'inadequate'

Councillor Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “The coronavirus restrictions are essential to protect the health of our communities. But we know that in many cases they will have caused additional hardships to people who were already struggling.

“Cherwell has, for many years, worked closely with the local organisations who run food banks. I cannot praise them highly enough for the way they have redoubled their efforts during this pandemic. I believe they are the best way for us as a district council to continue to address the essential issue of food insecurity in the future.”

Since it went live on September 1, £17,465 of the funding has been committed.

ALSO READ: 'Plates for Prentis' after MP voted against extending free school meals

The grants so far have funded a food bank storage container and hygiene hub at Banbury Mosque and community food services and training at Cherwell Larder and the Sunshine Centre.

The Councillor Priority Fund has also been used to fund a number of vital food projects during the pandemic and still has over £42,000 available for organisations to apply for.

This has a broader scope and can fund activities including delivering food, supplies and medicines to those in vulnerable situations.

For advice, go to email grants@cherwell-dc.gov.uk or call 01295 221538.