Over 80 non-profit organisations have received support as part of the first wave of funding under the Covid-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Launched in early April in response to the immediate challenges faced by food redistributors, the grant opened with an initial fund of £3.25 million and was expanded with an additional £1.6 million from the Government in May, taking the total to nearly £5 million.

The grant was created from the £18 million Resource Action Fund, managed by WRAP on behalf of Defra, which supports a number of key policy areas in addition to food.

The first recipients of funding include small and medium-sized not-for-profit organisations, as well as some of the UK’s largest redistribution charities.

The funding will take place in three phases and will be given to a number of local and national redistribution charities, including FareShare which will receive £212,108.

Peter Maddox, director of WRAP, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have been entrusted by Defra to deliver this much-needed grant scheme, and that we’ve been able to help so many organisations in such a short space of time. The interest we’ve received every day shows that this is a vital support for many charities. I am pleased that we can extend the time for the smaller grassroot charities, which often operate with much fewer resources and staff.”

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow added: “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted to us all the value of food and, more than ever, we must ensure good food does not go to waste.

“This funding will help redistribution organisations across the country continue their crucial work, ensuring all quality, nutritious food reaches those who need it.”