Mon 17 August 2020 – Unicef UK has today launched its first ever domestic emergency response programme to support children in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic.

Food Power for Generation Covid’, a grant-funded programme, is launching today in partnership with the food and farming charity Sustain. The joint initiative will ensure that the most vulnerable children and their families have access to food during the coronavirus crisis by providing grants to community food projects until February 2021.

The coronavirus pandemic is the most urgent crisis affecting children since the Second World War, upending children’s lives around the world and in the UK. Of the 2.4 million children across the UK already growing up in food insecure households, over 1/5 of households with children have gone hungry during lockdown as the pandemic has taken its toll on family finances and access to sources of emergency food is under pressure from loss of donations and volunteers[1].

Building upon its existing UK programmes – which already operate in all four nations reaching more than 2.5 million children each year – and expertise on issues affecting UK children, the charity has in response established a new partnership with Sustain’s food Power programme, ‘Food Power’ was launched three years ago to support place-based alliances across the UK to tackle local issues relating to food access and food affordability.

Working through the local Food Power alliances, ‘Food Power for Generation Covid’ will award grants to community food projects that reach the children and families most in need.

Anna Kettley, Director of Programmes at Unicef UK, said: “The coronavirus crisis is having an unprecedented impact on children’s lives – their support systems ripped apart, their education lost, their access to food impacted.

“Food Power for Generation Covid will see us partnering with local organisations across the UK for the first time in our history for a one-off emergency response, and we are delighted to be working with Food Power given their expertise and access to the people who need our support the most.

“Through these grants, we hope to reach the UK’s most vulnerable children and their families and ensure they receive the vital food support they need to eat well. Our goal is to ensure that children survive the coronavirus crisis – and thrive beyond it.”

Simon Shaw, Head of Food Poverty Programme at Sustain, said: “All over the UK local food poverty alliances and food partnerships have been taking action to ensure local people have access to nutritious food during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This partnership with Unicef UK and support from Soccer Aid for Unicef comes at a crucial point. Local alliances are well-placed to support their communities during the next few months and to reach those who have been hardest hit.”

Funding for ‘Food Power for Generation Covid’ is coming from funds previously raised from Soccer Aid for Unicef. The first round of grants will be awarded in the week commencing 17 August 2020 and the initiative will run until the end of February 2021.

For more information about Food Power visit https://www.sustainweb.org/foodpower/


Note to editors

For more information, please contact:

Unicef UK Media Team, 0207 375 6030, [email protected]


UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children. As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK.

About Soccer Aid for Unicef

Soccer Aid for Unicef is an entertainment-led charity campaign, culminating in a football match featuring two teams of professional and celebrity players, broadcast live on ITV in September 2020. Soccer Aid for Unicef aims to raise millions of pounds to support Unicef’s vital work around the world saving lives and helping children get the best start in life. This year, the money raised through Soccer Aid for Unicef will also help stop the spread of coronavirus and limit the impact on children’s lives.

For more information please visit unicef.org.uk

Follow UNICEF UK on TwitterLinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

About Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

The Sustain alliance represents around 100 national public interest organisations working at international, national, regional and local level. Our food poverty programme and campaigns have a joint goal to ensure that all children have access to a nutritious diet, this requires targeted support for low income children and families.

We are proud of our ability to work nimbly and adapt to events. We quickly established an approach to working during the Covid-19 crisis; securing food for vulnerable people and supporting the local response are two of our priority areas. Our Food Power programme is well-connected into local food networks across the UK and their work to ensure people have access to nutritious food during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Follow Sustain on Twitter

About Food Power 

Food Power is a four-year programme funded by the National Lottery Community Fund delivered by Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming and Church Action on Poverty. We have a network of 60+ food poverty alliances from across the UK and covering a range or urban and rural areas. The programme supports these alliances to tackle food poverty in their areas through a combination of practical and strategic projects. Alliances vary in size but their members usually include community organisations, food banks, food pantries, councils, advice organisations and academics. Members come together over common objectives around reducing food poverty and we have supported many to develop food poverty action plans which cover a combination of immediate and preventative responses, including actions targeted at children and families.

Follow Food Power on Twitter

[1] Figures based on a YouGov poll commissioned by the Food Foundation, March 2020. Full press release can be found here.