Nov 19, 2020

Winter grant fund distribution to help the nation

Food Vouchers from Blackhawk Network

We can distribute school meal and Christmas food vouchers for vulnerable children and families over the winter period. 

Millions of people have been battling through the knock-on effect of the global pandemic this year. And we don’t just mean recovering from, or supporting family and friends fighting COVID-19. We’re talking about the other challenges Coronavirus has thrown the world, such as losing jobs, getting into debt and suffering with poor mental health. 

At Blackhawk Network we want to help – and we can. Our aid distribution solutions can help charities, councils and other organisations to disburse funds quickly and efficiently and can stretch budgets further thanks to our scalability. 

We all greatly admire and will be ever thankful to the front-line workers who continue to help us through the pandemic, from thousands of NHS workers and supermarket staff, to delivery drivers, call centre operatives and bank clerks.  

In this unusually difficult economic time, the government has pulled together support package after support package - but one area of society was often overlooked. The fight for free school meal vouchers to keep vulnerable children and families fed throughout the national lockdown and summer holidays, began!  
Manchester United’s, Marcus Rashford, originally raised concerns about the issue during the UK’s first lockdown, where his campaign secured low-income families with school meal vouchers from the government over the summer break. 

His continued campaigning against food poverty triumphed again this month, as we saw the announcement of the UK government agreeing to free school meals and other funding support for households over the 2020 Christmas period, and through 2021. A great example of a celebrity who is able to use their influence for an important cause. 

We now know that the government’s £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme will allow households going through a difficult time to get extra support over the winter, to ensure nobody goes hungry or finds themselves unable to pay their bills. 

School meal, Christmas and winter food vouchers for low income and vulnerable households 

This year, our own efforts have been focused on supporting charities and non-profit organisations who have been working around the clock to help vulnerable households get the hardship funds and aids they need to survive. To support these workers and their beneficiaries, we’ve been helping to distribute millions of Tesco and Morrisons school meals vouchers. We’ve also supplied food vouchers to people working in the hardest hit sectors via charities, such as the Licenced Trade Charity (LTC).  

So far, our fund disbursement team has delivered $250 million worth of emergency aids around the world, including £90 million in the UK. 

The food vouchers we’ve helped distribute have consisted of prepaid cards, gift cards and digital codes, which can be spent instore and online with major supermarkets and popular retailers. Our food and school meals vouchers have been provided in this way, as recipients then make sure they use the money on goods they need – rather than cash payments getting lost in overdraft fees. 

Food and shopping vouchers we’ve sent to households this year include:  

Morrisons food vouchers

Tesco food vouchers 

Sainsburys food vouchers 

Multi-retail shopping vouchers for other everyday essentials 

Fund and school meal voucher disbursement: other ways we’re lending a hand 

A recent report by Action for Children helped explain the scale of poverty that has hit the UK in 2020. More families than ever before have had to turn to charities to support them with essentials to live. In fact, a staggering 71% of people who have been in touch with Action for Children have not experienced any financial issues previously. 

This extra surge in households requiring support, not only from families but from all kinds of people and businesses across the UK, has meant charities and non-profit organisations on the front line have become overstretched. The Licensed Trade Charity, who we’ve been supporting with fund disbursement since May 2020, explained the situation clearly when its Grant Manager said, “We received over 3,000 applications in a 48-hour period. That volume is what we usually deal with in a year.” 

Fast and free fund disbursement support 

Seeing the scale of grants, aids and funds that needed to be distributed, and fast, is where our team felt they could help. For two decades, Blackhawk Network has been using technology to hand out rewards and incentives to workforces and consumers. We have the knowledge, experience, and more importantly, the tools to carry out these processes in a quick, efficient and cost-effective way. 

We are always looking for ways we can support the world we live in, especially with a pandemic, and making sure hardship funds and grants can reach recipients quickly is an area in which we knew we could make a difference. 

Overworked charity workers and organisations unfortunately don’t have the resources they need at the moment to send funds effectively. Yet, our technology has been developed with intelligence and flexibility that can distribute aids quickly, even on a large scale.  

The main ways our fund disbursement work has been benefiting charities and organisations includes:  

  • No money transfer fees  
  • Funds are going further; a £500 voucher can cost as little as £485 
  • Improving audit trails, as no cash is given 
  • Aids are received within 24 hours of payment being received 
  • Vouchers can be customised and include a personalised message 
  • We disburse funds for free – our support doesn’t cost an extra penny 

Helping charities disburse aids in 2020 and beyond 

At the time of writing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has shed a glimmer of light on the UK and the rest of the world, which means there is potentially an end in sight for the mass spread of coronavirus. And, when the day finally comes that we can return to some notion of ‘normality’, there will no doubt be huge celebrations.  

Without dampening the positive COVID-free future that is on the horizon, we mustn’t forget those that have been affected by pandemic poverty and that will continue to live the damaging outcomes. These people will still need our support and will still need champions to fight their corner. Let’s make sure we always keep these people at the front of our minds and keep doing everything we can to help them survive. 

Is your charity, council or non-profit organisation looking for hardship fund, grant or aid disbursement support?
Fill in the contact form on your right to download our handy one-pager with more information on our winter grant distribution solution. Alternatively, fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly.