Posts in '2020'

New report reveals how coronavirus has affected food bank use

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New research shows food banks are forecast to give out six emergency food parcels a minute this winter.

  • The Trussell Trust’s new analysis forecasts a 61% increase in food parcels needed across its UK network in October to December – six parcels given out every minute
  • During the start of the pandemic around half of people who used a food bank had never needed one before
  • Families with children have been hardest hit
  • The charity is clear the situation can be turned around if this evidence is prioritised and acted upon by government during the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review and budget

Today the Trussell Trust has released a report Lockdown, Lifelines and the Long Haul Ahead revealing how coronavirus has affected food bank use, with a huge rise in people needing to usa food bank in its network for the first time. The Trussell Trust’s records also show that families with children are being hit the hardest during the crisis. 

Analysis carried out by Heriot-Watt University with support from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimates that if changes aren’t made this autumn, there is likely to be a 61% rise in need at food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network this winter, equating to 846,000 food parcels being given out. 

The charity warns that with mass unemployment predicted on a scale not seen since the early ninetiesthere will be further rises in poverty with 670,000 additional people classed as destitute by the end of 2020, meaning they cannot afford essentials like housing, energy and food. This is otop of year-on-year rises in the number of people unable to afford food and forced to food banks across the UK 

But the situation can be turned around, the charity saysThe government response to protect jobs and incomes during this pandemic has shown what a difference can be made when support structures are put in place. The much-needed rises to some benefit levels and the job retention scheme prevented many more people from facing destitution. But the charity warns that with these schemes set to endthe government must act now to ensure we are all protected. 

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said:  

“Communities throughout the country have shown enormous resilience in helping more people than ever before. But food banks and other community charities cannot continue to pick up the pieces. None of us should need a charity’s help to put food on the table.

“Our research finds that Covid-19 has led to tens of thousands of new people needing to use a food bank for the first time. This is not right. If we don’t take action now, there will be further catastrophic rises in poverty in the future.”

“But it doesn’t have to be like this. The pandemic has exposed the power of what happens when we stand together in the face of adversity. We must harness this power to create the changes needed to prevent many more people being locked into poverty this winter. With the furlough scheme set to wind down, we must act now to put in place protection for each other. The Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review present a pivotal opportunity to put things right. We must take it to help us weather the storm left in the wake of Covid-19.”

The charity says there should be no higher priority than preserving the lifelines that have saved many of us from destitution through this pandemic. It points to this autumn’s budget and Comprehensive Spending Review as an opportunity to: 

  • Protect people’s incomes by locking in the £20 rise to Universal Credit brought in at the start of the pandemic  
  • Help people hold on to more of their benefits through the economic crisis by suspending benefit debt deductions until a fairer approach to repayments can be introduced 
  • Make local safety nets as strong as possible by investing £250m in local welfare assistance in England 





Contact the Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or [email protected] 


Notes to editors 

  1. On behalf of the Trussell Trust, the I-SPHERE team at Heriot-Watt University have modelled future levels of need for food banks. Their findings estimate that 846,000 three-day emergency food parcels are likely to be distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK wide network in the last quarter of 2020.  
  2. This represents at least an extra 300,000 on the same period in 2019 when 524,000 were distributed.  
  3. With 846,000 parcels estimated to be distributed, on average across this period 6.38 three-day emergency food parcels a minute will be given out 
  4. I-SPHERE have also estimated the total number of additional people that will be swept into destitution because of the economic crisis. People are defined as destitute if they cannot afford essentials such as shelter, food, heating, lighting, clothing and footwear, and basic toiletries. For more information on destitution please go here: 
  5. Their estimates show 672,905 additional people falling into destitution in the UK by the end of 2020.  
  6. For more information on the modelling approach please contact the Trussell Trust media team who will provide you with the full report.  
  7. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) supported this project, with their economic forecasts forming the basis for some of the assumptions in the modelling carried out by I-SPHERE. They have produced their own independent estimates of future need which are contained within the full report.  
  8. During the crisis the Trussell Trust’s administrative data shows that households with children have been hit the hardest. There was a 95 per cent increase in parcels given out to households with children in April 2020, compared to April 2019. Single people (41%) and couples (79%) saw lower percentage increases.  
  9. The Trussell Trust’s administrative data shows that over half (52%) of households that needed support from a food bank in the Trussell Trust’s network in April 2020 had not used a food bank in the network previously. This represents close to one hundred thousand new households (99,300 April – June 2020) 
  10. The Trussell Trust reported a year on year increase of 18 per cent between 2018/19 and 2019/20.  
  11. NIESR’s August review forecasts that the ILO rate of unemployment in the UK will reach 9.8 per cent in the last quart of 2020. The ONS’s time series on ILO unemployment 16-64 highlights that it has not reached that level since April – June 1994.  


About the Trussell Trust: 

  • We’re here to end the need for food banks in UK.  
  • We support a UK-wide network of more than 1,200 food bank centres and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.  
  • Our most recent figures for the number of emergency food supplies provided by our network: 
  • The Trussell Trust’s food bank network brings together volunteers, staff and supporters of all faiths and none to make a difference. Local churches play a vital part in this work, with around 12,000 churches actively involved in donating food, and providing venues, volunteers and financial support for food banks. 
  • You can read more about our work at 


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Asda’s support helps get new volunteers into food banks

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Asda have been helping get new volunteers into food banks during the coronavirus pandemic by supporting the Trussell Trust with a digital volunteer system that connects volunteers to nearby food banks that need their support.

Volunteers are the bedrock of all the things food banks do – without volunteers, food banks wouldn’t be able to collect donations, ensure people who need support can get help, or campaign for long-term change to prevent people needing food banks in the future.

But when coronavirus struck, many food bank volunteers who were over 70 or had a health condition, needed to stay at home in line with government guidance. At exactly the same time, food banks were busier than ever before – with more and more people needing emergency support as the impact of the crisis hit how much money people had for essentials.

Food banks were also making big changes to the way they worked to ensure people could get support safely – for some this meant doing deliveries, and for others it meant making sure social distancing could be followed in their centres. Facing these challenges, food banks needed their volunteer teams.

Asda’s support meant the Trussell Trust could launch a digital volunteer system that connects people who want to volunteer with nearby food banks needing their support.

At Brent Foodbank, this meant not only could they link up with nearby people eager to give their time – but they could also organise who was volunteering and when really quickly and easily through the system, saving valuable hours during a period when the food bank was busier than ever before.

Brent Foodbank Project Manager Claudia Wallace explains the difference it makes:

“It’s been really exciting getting to see the volunteer system up and running.  It’s easy to log in and move around the site.  It’s been great seeing our rota come together and we’re looking forward to getting our recruitment into the system as well. This will be a real time saver!”

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Tesco announces nationwide Summer Food Collection to support food banks and local community groups

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Tesco is to hold an extra summer food collection to support the Trussell Trust and FareShare in response to an increased need for food in the wake of Covid-19.

From August 20 to 22 special donation points will be put up at every Tesco Superstore and Extra store, with customers being asked to donate essential items of long-life food. Tesco will top up all customer donations with an additional 20% donation in cash to the two charities.

The collection has been organised in direct response to the extra pressures placed on the food banks and community groups which FareShare and the Trussell Trust are supporting during the COVID-19 pandemic. FareShare has seen its highest ever demand for food from the thousands of local charities and community groups it supports, whilst the Trussell Trust has seen need at food banks in its network soar by more than 80%. (more…)

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Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation

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The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has been supporting the Trussell Trust since 2017 and we’re hugely grateful for their long-term support. The foundation has generously been donating funds to support Coventry Foodbank, one of the largest food banks in the UK, for the past four years as well as supporting with nationwide volunteering and contributing to operating costs, and they’re supporting us once again with an additional donation of approximately £40,000 as we face the new challenges and increased level of need created by the coronavirus pandemic.

More and more people are being forced to use a food bank and this simply isn’t right but we know that with the support of partners like Sodexo, together we can create a stronger, more compassionate, and more just society where everyone can afford the essentials. (more…)

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Asda and Burngreave Foodbank’s volunteer heroes help people get food bank help safely during COVID-19

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Asda have been helping people who need food banks during the coronavirus pandemic by supporting the Trussell Trust to develop a digital system that makes sure anyone who needs a food bank, but is unable to leave their home, can still access vital support.

Every food bank in the Trussell Trust network works with a range of local organizations, like a housing association or local Citizens Advice, that refer people for emergency support. These organisations can assess whether someone is in need of a food bank and before the pandemic, they could provide people in-person with a paper voucher for the food bank.

But when coronavirus hit, some people needing support couldn’t leave their homes, and some local organisations which normally give paper vouchers couldn’t physically open safely. (more…)

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Tesco’s vital support for food banks during Covid-19

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Back at the start of April, as the full effects of the pandemic were unfolding across the UK, more and more people were needing support from food banks.

In the previous two weeks, there had already been a 81% surge in need for emergency food parcels compared to March 2019 – and as April wore on, this increased need for help would continue, with double the number of families needing help compared to the same month in 2019.

We were working closely with food banks to ensure people who couldn’t afford essentials were able to get an emergency parcel – but food banks could only continue to provide that vital lifeline if there was enough food for parcels.

It made such a difference that at the start of April Tesco pledged to support food banks in our network, independent food banks and food redistribution charity FareShare, with £15 million worth of food to ensure support could be there for people. The £500,000 of funding and support with Bags for Life also came at exactly the right time to help us support food banks during this challenging time.

During the past 12 weeks, these donations have been critical for food banks across the country, ensuring emergency support was there for anyone unable to afford food.

Tesco’s support made all the difference during the crisis – as Jon from Brixton Foodbank explains:

We don’t think this support should have been needed. Everyone should be able to afford their own food and we’re stepping up our work to end the need for food banks.

But while we do that longer-term work, we need to make sure help is available for people in crisis right now.

We are so grateful for Tesco’s support during the past 12 weeks – it was absolutely critical to making sure food banks were able to be there for people as the impact of Covid-19 first unfolded.

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Passenger donates proceeds from new album to support food banks during the coronavirus crisis

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Singer-songwriter and musician Passenger is supporting the Trussell Trust, a charity that works with a network of more than 1,200 food bank centres across the UK, by donating proceeds from his new album Patchwork to help people struggling due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Food banks have seen a huge surge in need for emergency support during the coronavirus outbreak. The Trussell Trust reports a soaring 89% increase in need for emergency food parcels during April 2020 compared to the same month last year, including a 107% rise in parcels given to children. The number of families with children receiving parcels has almost doubled compared to the same period last year.

Wherever possible, food banks are continuing to provide emergency support to people in their community in the safest way possible. Many have had to make significant changes to the way they work in order to protect the health of everyone at the food bank – whether that’s people who need the food bank, people volunteering, or people donating.

Passenger’s donation will help the Trussell Trust support food banks to continue providing emergency help safely during the crisis, while campaigning for long-term change to the drivers of need for food banks and working towards a future where everyone in the UK has enough money for essentials.

Michael said,

“Patchwork is a collection of songs that I wrote during lockdown (with the exception of the beautiful “someone you loved” by Lewis Capaldi.) It was such a strange and challenging time for me as I’m sure it was for everybody. I was living alone and as a result found myself in a very honest and vulnerable spot which is always a good place to be for writing songs from.

“I had no plan to record them as a stand-alone album but as the weeks went on and the songs kept coming it felt like a really nice thing to be able to do. All of the proceeds from the album will be donated to the Trussell Trust, which is a UK based organisation dedicated to providing food for the people who don’t have enough money for essentials, and working towards a time when such a service might not be needed.”

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust said,

“We’re really grateful to Passenger for his support. Food banks have seen a huge surge in need as the impact of coronavirus hits people’s incomes – more and more people are struggling to cover the cost of essentials. But it doesn’t have to be like this. This can change. As a country, we can make changes which would protect people from being swept into poverty. This donation from Passenger will help us continue supporting food banks to get emergency help to people safely, while we work towards a future where everyone has enough money for essentials. Thank you so much.”

Patchwork is available from 10th July in digital format globally from all recognised retailers and from the artist website at

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“Eat out to help out” – but what about helping those going hungry at home?

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Rory Weal, Policy & Public Affairs Manager

Yesterday the Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled his ‘summer statement’. A number of eye-catching policies were announced to support the economy through what even the most optimistic predictions suggest will be the deepest recession in decades.

Interventions to protect jobs and targeted support for the hardest hit sectors featured prominently, as did measures to boost consumer spending in the form of VAT cuts and a 50% voucher discount for eating out in restaurants, cafes and pubs during August.

But this welcome focus on jobs must be matched by a renewed effort to make sure people out of work can afford the essentials.

There was little here for the millions of people already relying on our social security safety net, and the many more who will be forced to turn to it over the coming months. (more…)

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On the frontline: a day at a food bank during COVID-19

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A guest blog from our partners Deloitte 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK in March, Hannah Ledwold, a manager in our Risk Analytics practice and Alan Velecky, Senior Manager, Consulting, have been on secondment with the Trussell Trust. The Trussell Trust supports a nationwide network of over 1,200 food banks to provide emergency food to people who can’t afford the essentials, while working towards a future where everyone has enough money.

The Trussell Trust’s mission is to end the need for food banks by supporting people to address the root causes of poverty. Unfortunately, the need for food banks’ services is now greater than ever. They have seen an 81% increase in food parcels provided to people since the coronavirus caused lockdowns and job losses across the UK. Our two secondees have stepped in to help. (more…)

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Our nation faces a crucial fork in the road – we must choose the right path 

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Garry Lemon, director of policy and external affairs  

Our nation is at a crossroads.

The government has responded to coronavirus with unprecedented measures to support workers, businesses and self-employed people. But the stark reality many of us now face is laid bare in today’s unemployment figures, with hundreds of thousands of people falling off payrolls since March and the largest decreases in the number of self -employed ever recorded.

With the jobs retentions scheme and the self-employed income support scheme set to wind down over the coming months, there is real concern that this is just the start of a tidal wave which will sweep people into poverty and financial hardship.

What decision will we make? We can either choose to build the biggest and best lifeboats to sail people to financial safety – or risk many more people being swept into destitution if we do not invest enough to keep everyone afloat.  (more…)

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