Please see below for a snapshot of our latest news stories:
||Biggest ever increase in numbers turning to foodbanks. Read more
||Victory in the dragon's den. Read more
||Trussell Trust named Charity Times Charity of Year Winner! Read more
||Foodbank client writes poem about foodbank experience. Read more
||Local MP kickstarts clothing appeal. Read more
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Biggest ever increase in people turning to foodbanks for help
Trussell Trust foodbanks have seen the biggest rise in numbers given emergency food since we opened our first foodbank in 2000. Almost 350,000 people have received at least three days emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks during the last 12 months, nearly 100,000 more than anticipated and close to triple the number helped in 2011-12. Read more
Victory in the Dragon's Den
How can soap bring hope to Bulgaria's orphanage leavers? Tsetsi's explanation to a panel of Dragon's Den style judges this week left them so impressed that he walked away with a cheque for 10,000 Bulgarian Leva - almost £5,000 - to invest in 'HOPe Soaps' .
After being abandoned to an orphanage before he can remember, Tsetsi joined The House of Opportunity when he left state care aged 18 in 2008. What would he have done if he hadn't joined this two year residential training programme for state care leavers run by Trussell Trust partners FSCI? He says crime or prostitution and begging for food: that's what his less fortunate friends have turned to.
Tsetsi's always said that 'when I'm on my feet I want to help others like the House of Opportunity helped me'. So, outside of his studies and his job, Tsetsi now manages 'HOPe Soap', FSCI's new project that helps orphanage leavers to break out of poverty by producing handmade soaps to sell. Tsetsi has broken the mould by going to university, managing an enterprise and now he's wowed a panel of judges too. He says he knows he's now a role model to the young people he's working with and he's determined to prove to them that they too can have a future. HOPe Soaps is a great success in Bulgaria and FSCI are exploring new enterprise ideas to help more Bulgarian state care leavers like Tsetsi to turn their lives around.
Record breaking year for Christmas Shoeboxes!
Thank you for donating an incredible 6,657 Christmas Shoeboxes for Bulgaria's poorest men, women and children, almost 1,000 more than last year! The demand for Christmas Boxes from Bulgaria has grown hugely in the past year so this new record-breaking number of boxes comes at a time when the need is greater than ever. Huge thank you to all involved!
Check out The Trussell Trust team's Bulgaria Blog to see how your Christmas Boxes are transforming lives.
Find out more about Christmas Boxes
Trussell Trust named Charity Times Charity of Year Winner!
The Trussell Trust is delighted to have won a prestigious Charity Times 'Charity of the Year' award and we would like to say a huge thank you to all our supporters - it's you who make what we do possible.
The judges were impressed by the way that the foodbank network 'showed fantastic growth and huge success in a wide range of disparate communities'. The award is testament to the incredible efforts of foodbanks across the UK to address the problem of food poverty.
Lady's poem describes foodbank experience
A lady who turned to the foodbank after escaping from domestic violence and struggling to find subsequent employment was so moved by her experience of using the foodbank that she wrote a poem about it. Having worked all her life she was deeply embarrassed to have to ask the foodbank for help, but she says coming to the foodbank gave her hope and helped her to turn her life around. Click here to read her poem
Local MP kickstarts clothing donations appeal
The Trussell Trust has joined a nationwide 'Choose Charity Shops' campaign to encourage more people to give good quality donations to charity shops. MP John Glen kickstarted our local appeal for clothes, bags and shoes last Friday and we're urging as many people as possible to follow in his footsteps. Thanks to a very successful first couple of weeks at our new Salisbury shop we desperately need more good quality items, so why not have a clear out and bring a few things to The Trussell Trust?
100% increase in numbers fed by foodbanks
Trussell Trust figures released this week show that foodbanks fed 128,697 people nationwide in the last financial year, compared to 61,468 in 2010-11: an increase of 109%. Many of those helped were families struggling as a result of rising food and fuel prices combined with static incomes, high unemployment and changes to benefits. 45,898 children have been fed in the last 12 months.
Behind each of these statistics is a person in crisis who has been given a lifeline. People like Az, Nadine, Keira and baby Isabel who shared their story with ITV Daybreak
Our vision is a nation where no-one has to go hungry. Your support
makes this possible.Thank you!
New Salisbury shop opens to help meet increased need
Our brand new charity shop in Salisbury city centre has just opened its doors to a very excited public. The shop, which sells good quality clothes, bags, shoes and crockery, aims to generate funds to help The Trussell Trust reach more people in crisis. After much hard work from our Salisbury team, the new shop on Salisbury High Street is looking amazing (if we do say so ourselves), why not go and check it out? Find us at 50 High Street Salisbury, opposite the India Shop.
Also, we need more good quality clothing donations to keep the shop stocked and more volunteers too, could you help? Please bring any donations to 50 High Street Salisbury or Restore Bemerton, St. Michael's Community Centre, St. Michael's Rd, Salisbury SP2 9LE. Thank you!
David Cameron recognises foodbanks
Trussell Trust Executive Chairman Chris Mould was invited to David Cameron's Easter Celebration at 10 Downing Street recently in recognition of the important work that foodbanks are doing across the UK.
Chris says: 'The Prime Minister's acknowledgement of foodbanks is testament to the incredible work of all those across the UK who have stepped up and launched foodbanks in their towns to stop people going hungry. It's a big well done to everyone involved.'
1 in 5 mums regularly go hungry in the UK
Of 2000 mothers surveyed by Netmums recently, 1 in 5 regularly go without meals to feed their children, 16% are being treated for stress-related illnesses and one third are borrowing money from friends and family to stay afloat. Most mothers stated that their situation is worse than a year ago with less money coming in.
Foodbanks meet mums in desperate situations every week. This week foodbank mum Donna was almost in tears as she told me that she couldn't afford birthday presents to give to her twins who will be 13 on Sunday. She said that her sons had asked to have a friend come to stay to celebrate their birthday but she hasn't said yes because she's not sure they can afford the extra food. Donna used to work in a school for children with Aspergers and Autism but is currently off work due to depression - which has been exacerbated by the family's financial worries. Her partner was recently made redundant and they are currently living on £38 per week due to mistakes with their benefits. This is the reality behind the statistics. Donna says she will be 'eternally grateful' for their foodbox. Without it she says she would have gone without food and had to try to scrape together enough money to give the children something, even just bread and butter. The family are keen to get back into work, that's the hope that keeps them going.
First foodbank in Northern Ireland opens
On Monday 19th December Newtownards Foodbank, our first foodbank in Northern Ireland, opened its doors to the public just in time for Christmas. The Newtownards foodbank team were so determined to open before Christmas that they took just two months weeks to get the project off the ground!
Thanks to the team's epic efforts local people in Newtownards facing hunger over the festive period were able to receive emergency food. The Trussell Trust is delighted to have launched our first foodbank in Northern Ireland and we're hoping to see lots more follow in the region.
Alex's epic 315KM non-stop run for foodbanks
On Saturday 15th October extreme endurance runner Alexandra Panayotou, 41, completed her most gruelling challenge to date: 315KM (195.7 miles) without resting or sleeping. After 50 hours running Alex was greeted by a crowd of 26,000 as she finished by lapping the pitch during half-time at Norwich City FC's premier league match against Swansea City. We want to say a huge thank you to Alex for raising funds and awareness for foodbanks, and what's more, this is just a warm up!
Alex's 315KM non-stop run is in preparation for her big event for foodbanks next year. In May 2012 Alex will complete 2012KM in just one month for foodbanks - the equivalent of one and a half marathons every day. The Greek athlete who is based in Barcelona was moved to do something big for foodbanks after her school-friend Daphine Aikens set up Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank in London. Alex said 'I couldn't believe that people are going hungry in the UK, it's shocking. I knew that I too could do something to help. I couldn't be doing this for a better cause.'
Please sponsor Alex's epic feat by using JustTextGiving's free service: text FBUK11 and £2 to 70070 or click here to give. Thanks!
Help change lives by buying Trussell Trust Christmas cards!
Every pack of Trussell Trust Christmas cards that you buy will help us to keep on meeting the needs of people in poverty in the UK and Bulgaria, people like Holly in the story above. We have a range of cards available
, and every penny we make will go towards transforming lives here in the UK and in Bulgaria.
Cards are now onsale in all our shops
. You can also order them to be delivered to you by sending the following information to 'Christmas Card Orders', The Trussell Trust, St. Michael's Community Centre, St. Michael's Road, Salisbury SP2 9LE:
1. Your card design choice(s)
2. Quantity of packs
3. A cheque payable to The Trussell Trust to cover the cost of the cards PLUS postage (1 - 9 packs: £1.50 postage; 10+ packs FREE postage -regrettably postage to UK only)
4. The address you would like the cards delivered to and a contact number for queries
Please call 01722 427115or email email@example.com for more information.
N.B The greeting inside reads 'With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year'
House of Opportunity graduate to run New Forest Marathon for abandoned children of Bulgaria
Budding athlete Dani didn't have the best start in life: he was abandoned to an orphanage aged four and abused as a child. Aged 18, like all those in state care in Bulgaria, Dani had to leave the orphanage. His life took a turn for the better when he joined our House of Opportunity programme and he is determined to give more orphanage leavers the chance he had, which is why he is running the New Forest Marathon on 25th September.
After graduating from our two year residential training programme in June Dani told us: 'The House of Opportunity helped me to develop. It taught me how to look for a job and what it means to have a job. I believe in myself now, I know what I can achieve and it helped me to become a better person altogether. That's why I want to do this marathon, I want to help more people like me.'
Many Bulgarian orphanage leavers are forced into crime or prostitution to survive, some become victims of human trafficking. Dani is passionate about giving vulnerable young people the chance to build successful independent lives through Houses of Opportunity. Dani hopes to raise £6K, enough to refurbish a building for a new House of Opportunity.
7 triathlons in 7 days in aid of Trussell Trust
Runner-up triathlon World Champion Richard Iles and a team of three friends ranging from novices to Great Britain competitors completed an epic feat of endurance from 8th-14th August by finishing seven of the UK’s toughest full triathlons in seven consecutive days. To raise funds for the Trust the team pushed themselves beyond the limits to cover a massive 778.15km each in total, finishing the challenge with an Iron Man distance triathlon.
Before the event, Richard Iles, 50, said: ‘I don’t actually know if I can do it - it’s a genuine challenge, but it’s exciting.’
Co-athlete Tim Harris, 28, Manager of Downton Leisure Centre had only done three triathlons before attempting 7 in 7, he said: ‘7-in-7 will incredibly physically demanding but I’m determined to make it. The Trussell Trust is a great charity and its foodbank project is seeing a massive increase in need nationwide, so we wanted to do something to help people going hungry on our own doorstep.’
The whole team made it and at the end of the Forestman race on the last day Tim said: 'The sense of achievement and pride that flowed through as I crossed the line ... was incredible and a feeling that I won't forget.'
Kev James, who has represented Great Britain and raced 13 Iron Mans also joined the team as did Steve Bailey, an amateur triathlete who battled injury to finish the challenge. An added twist to the tale was that Tim's running partner Nicky became the accidental Iron Woman when she ended up completing her first Iron Man triathlon after initially planning on doing part of it to encourage Tim - well done Nicky!
All at The Trussell Trust are in awe of this incredible achievement and would like to say a huge thank you!
The 7-in-7 team hope to raise £7,000, please help them to reach their target by sponsoring them at www.justgiving.com/racenewforest7in7
New House of Opportunity opens in Ruse, Bulgaria
Ferdane and Vasko, both 19, have just become the first residents of our new House of Opportunity for state care leavers in Ruse, Bulgaria. They were welcomed into our third House of Opportunity by houseparents Mariana and Maria. They are settling in well and have already secured jobs with local employers. Just one year ago, this story could have been very different...
In Bulgaria, a country with an estimated 8,000 children living in orphanages, there is no state responsibility for young people once they turn 18. On reaching adulthood, those abandoned to orphanages are asked to leave. Many have no home, no family, no money. Their options? Life on the streets or in a poverty stricken community, earning enough to survive through prostitution, odd jobs or crime. Or, worse still, becoming the victims of human traffickers.
Our Houses of Opportunity equip young orphanage leavers for independent life by providing life-skills training and facilitating access to employment. The two year programme also provides accommodation in a small, family-style home with houseparents dedicated to caring for and encouraging each resident. We've seen young lives transformed by Houses of Opportunity and our Bulgaria team is working hard to start more houses across Bulgaria, giving Bulgaria's abandoned children a brighter future.
100th UK foodbank and first international foodbank launched!
Foodbanks are opening at an unprecedented rate to meet the high demand for emergency food aid: in 2011 The Trussell Trust has launched a new foodbank every week, launching its 100th UK foodbank this week. We've also launched our first international foodbank in Sofia, Bulgaria.
61,500 people nationwide have received emergency food handouts from The Trussell Trust's UK foodbanks in the last 12 months, 50% more than last year. Most foodbank recipients are not homeless; they are low-income working families who hit crisis, people who have been made redundant or people experiencing benefits delays. We are excited that more and more churches and communities across the UK are seeing the need on their doorsteps and working with us to launch more foodbanks.
Could your local church launch a foodbank?
Actor Bill Nighy visits foodbank!
You're more likely to know him for his roles in Love Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean rather than combatting poverty, but actor Bill Nighy is a keen campaigner on social justice. As one of the voices of the Robin Hood Tax campaign, Bill wanted to find out more about UK poverty and Oxfam suggested that he visit a Trussell Trust foodbank!
On Wednesday we took Bill to Hammersmith and Fulham foodbank where he met foodbank clients, heard their stories and even packed a foodbox himself. At the end of his visit we asked Bill what he thought, he told us: 'It's very moving to come here in modern times to see a room incredibly well stocked with donated food for people who, through no fault of their own, have dropped through the cracks. The fact that the people here volunteer to help is both touching and exemplary. I salute all those involved.'
Watch Guardian online's film of Bill's visit
New Boscombe community charity shop opens!
We are delighted to have opened our latest community charity shop in Boscombe, Bournemouth on Monday 4th April. Why not pop in for a browse and say hello to Mary, Tabitha and the team? Or better still, could you join the team?! We are looking for people of all ages and abilities to volunteer in the Boscombe shop. Could you join our team? you'll have fun, meet new people, learn new skills and make a valuable contribution to your community? Please contact Lizzie Abnett for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01722 427 111.
Plus, do you have unwanted quality items? We need more stock to keep the shop filled with great products. We'd love any good quality clothes, furniture, bric a brac, books and household items that you no longer need. You can take donations to any one of our shops in Verwood, Ferndown, Winton or Salisbury; please ask a member of staff about Gift Aiding your donation - a great way to raise more money from your donations without any extra cost to you.
Find out more about our Community Charity Shops
Bulgarian authories inspired by House of Opportunity!
After being impressed by The Trussell Trust's House of Opportunity in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, the local municipality asked us to take over the running of its small group home for abandoned children aged 15-18. Our in-country partners FSCI are now being funded by the local authority to run a house that helps five young people per year to make the transition from orphanage life to independence.
Trussell Trust Director Chris Mould says: 'I am delighted that a progressive local authority has so rapidly recognised the effectiveness of the House of Opportunity model and has asked us to adapt it to help them with their responsibility for under 18's.'
To help The Trussell Trust continue to launch more Houses of Opportunity for those over 18 who are not entitled to real help from the state please click here, thank you!
Okehampton Foodbank sees tenfold increase in clients
Following the closure of three local companies, Okehampton foodbank has seen numbers needing emergency food soar from 20 to 200 per week. Unemployment in the Devon town has risen from 2% to nearly 12% leaving many former employees with no choice but to rely on food parcels from Okehampton foodbank until redundancy packages and benefit payments come through.
The plight of the people in Okehampton and surge in numbers turning to the foodbank has been widely reported by the national media. Whilst local people have rallied to provide extra food to meet the demand, the foodbank is still under pressure. Okehampton foodbank's Andrew Morgan told the Guardian, "We are still appealing for food, it is desperately needed: some staff made redundant hadn't been paid for weeks. There really are people with no money and they really can't afford to put food on the table."
Adrian and Kay Vernon were both made redundant from Polestar foods, Okehampton, and suddenly left with no money. With a four-year-old daughter to feed, Adrian told the BBC that his foodbox was 'a lifesaver'.
Unemployment nationwide is at a 17-year high and foodbanks across the country are experiencing huge demand. This year the UK foodbank network estimates it has fed 60,000 people; an increase of nearly 20,000 people from the previous year.
90th UK foodbank launched!
Foodbanks are launching at record pace with 12 already launched in 2011 alone. We now have 91 foodbanks providing emergency food to people in crisis nationwide. More and more communities across the UK are working with us to start foodbanks but the need is still great. 13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK and every day foodbanks meet people who are struggling to put food on the table. The need for foodbanks in the North East of Could you help launch more foodbanks?
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Pears Foundation gives £10,000 Christmas present to foodbank
The Trussell Trust's foodbank network received an amazing £10,000 Christmas bonus from Pears Foundation recently.
In November, Executive Pears Foundation Executive Chair, Trevor Pears, visited Salisbury foodbank to see first-hand how a foodbank works. Last week the foodbank network received a £10,000 Christmas bonus 'in recognition of the valuable work of foodbank and the increased demand for your services in the current financial climate.'
Trussell Trust Director, Chris Mould says: 'The demand for foodbanks is growing right across the UK, this incredibly generous gift could not have come at a better time. We are so grateful to Pears Foundation for their support, this is a very special Christmas surprise indeed!'
Executive Chair Trevor Pears finds out what goes in a foodbox
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Record-breaking year for Christmas Shoeboxes
This year we've received 5,295 Christmas Shoeboxes, smashing last year's record of 3,882. These Christmas Shoeboxes full of gifts will go to men, women and children living in poverty in Bulgaria. This year we are planning to visit more orphanages and Roma communities, so the extra boxes have arrived just in time. Your Christmas Shoeboxes filled with gifts ranging from toothbrushes to teddies left the UK today (Monday 6th December) and will be met by a Trussell Trust team in Bulgaria on December 9th. Bulgaria Operations Manager Rich Parsons says: 'We are blown away by the generosity of those who gave Christmas Boxes this year. All at the Trust would like to say a huge thank you - your boxes really will make a huge difference this Christmas.' To follow the team's progress check out their blog.
A Roma family are delighted with their Christmas Shoeboxes
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Head of Oxfam Global visits foodbank
On 17 November 2010 Dame Barbara Stocking, Chief Executive of Oxfam Global, visited Ebbw Vale foodbank in Wales to discuss the impact that the project is having on helping people to break out of poverty during the difficult economic climate.
Oxfam's UK Poverty Programme helps fund Ebbw Vale foodbank. Dame Stocking met staff and volunteers at the foodbank, finding out first-hand how a foodbank works. She said:
'It was great to have the chance to visit one of Oxfam's projects in Wales and to see how The Trussell Trust are helping people in the Ebbw Vale area through the foodbank. It was clear to me that as well as the immediate and practical support The Trussell Trust offers people with food parcels, the additional aspects of the projects such as the radio station and skills development are also vital to help people build confidence and the means to break out of poverty.'
Thanks to Oxfam's funding, Adrian Curtis, our Foodbank Regional Development Officer for Wales is able to spend more time setting up foodbanks right across Wales.
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Trust's new shop in Winton sees record sales
The Trussell Trust's Restore Winton team have just opened their new look shop to a queue of customers. After much hard work, the team have been blown away by the record sales generated by the refit and are excited that each penny raised will help The Trussell Trust to change more lives. The Trust would like to say a big thank you to the generous supporter who helped finance the refit and to the Restore Winton team for all their extra effort. Why not pop in and have a browse?
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House of Opportunity Gabrovo opens!
On Saturday 6th November, Velizara and Nasko, both 18, became the first residents of our new House of Opportunity in Gabrovo, Bulgaria. Having grown up in orphanages the future for Velizara and Nasko looked bleak. Many orphanage leavers are forced to turn to crime, prostitution and trafficking in order to survive. Now, thanks to your support, Velizara and Nasko have the chance to build better futures.
The opening was a red letter day for The Trussell Trust, marking the first step in our vision to see Houses of Opportunity set up right across Bulgaria. With 150 children abandoned in Bulgaria every month, each year hundreds leave state care at 18 with nothing. If we open 150 Houses of Opportunity in Bulgaria, every young person leaving an orphanage could have the opportunity to join our two year programme providing them with life-skills training, employment experience and a loving home environment.
Each new house will be run in partnership with local Bulgarian churches and communities. Pastor Rumen, Centre Manager of The House of Opportunity, Gabrovo, told us 'I feel privileged to be part of this small beginning that will transform the lives of so many.'
House mother Kiki with new resident Velizara
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