FAMILIES in Newport struggling to afford food this summer are being supported by cash grants from Western Power Distribution (WPD).

The electricity network operator has awarded grants totalling more than £25,000 from its Community Matters Fund to charities, local councils and community groups across South Wales to help families struggling to put food on the table.

It’s widely reported that children have been the most adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and that many families are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet due to the rising cost of living.

There is always higher demand at food banks during the school holidays, often from families that rely on term-time free school meals – and research in 2019 highlighted there were three million children at risk of ‘holiday hunger’.

Among the beneficiaries announced are the Stow Park Community Centre and RCCG Vineyard Chapel, which have been awarded £1,800 and £2,500 respectively to deliver food parcels to local families and households in the region.

Secretary and trustee of the Stow Park Community Centre, Willie Clason, said: “This funding will help us provide community lunches to people who are homeless, lonely and vulnerable.

“Once at the centre for lunch, community members will be able to socialise with other people in a safe, warm and clean environment and access information and support from our staff and volunteers”.

Emmanuel Olu, from RCCG Vineyard Chapel, added: "This grant will make a huge difference in the lives of many that are in real need in our community.

“With our project (A "Can" can make a Difference), we aim to continue to make an impact by providing food parcel services to our community members (as many as possible) especially low-income families, asylum seekers and members with no recourse to public funds.

“We believe no matter how, no one, especially children, should ever go hungry.

“With the help of this funding, our project will continue to ensure we do our bit to curb food poverty.

“We are extremely grateful and would like to appreciate Western Power Distribution for their much-needed support. Thank you!”

WPD’s resources and external affairs director, Alison Sleightholm, said: “Holiday hunger is a very real and pressing issue in communities up and down the country, and at WPD we have an obligation to support families facing this problem in the communities we serve.

“We’re pleased to be able to support community groups, charities and local authorities in South Wales that are working hard to improve the quality of life for families over the holiday period and beyond, and we look forward to seeing their projects deliver vital benefits.”

WPD is the UK’s largest electricity distributor, responsible for delivering power to homes, businesses and vital services through its lines and cables in the South West, South Wales and the Midlands.

Its Community Matters Fund is paid for by the company’s shareholders and distributes £1million a year.

For more information, visit westernpower.co.uk/community-matters-fund, and follow the fund on social media via #WPDCommunityFund.