A blog post by
Chief Operations Officer
It is unacceptable that anyone in our country is forced to turn to a food bank. We’re working hard to reach a future where everyone has enough money to buy their own food, but we know we can’t get there on our own.
That’s why this week we’re marking the second year of our three-year Fight Hunger Create Change partnership with Asda and FareShare, and looking back at our work together so far.
A huge amount has been done in the first two years. Day in and day out thousands of our volunteers offer more than just food to people coming to food banks across our network and we want to ensure everyone who needs a food bank’s help receives the best possible support.
Not only has this partnership made it possible for more than 63,000 people to access fresh food last year, with that figure expected to rise in the year ahead – but it has enabled incredible specialist roles and services in food banks across the country to become a reality.
Food banks have been able to apply for grants to resource advice workers, support workers, counselling services, community fundraisers, warehouse managers and much more to help unlock people from the grip of poverty.
Take Ali at Ribble Valley Foodbank, for example. Ali, a past food bank volunteer and trained counsellor, was able to set up a tailored counselling service, the Gateway, with an Asda grant and built a team that has supported more than 50 people in the past year.
One young mother told her: “I’ve never felt so heard and understood by a therapist before and the lasting effects of my time with Gateway have been amazing. I now have the understanding and the tools to effectively navigate negative situations that arise.”
As well as this kind of holistic support, other projects have been able to get off the ground, such as a holiday club at Selby Foodbank. The food bank’s plan was to help people missing out on free school meals during school breaks by creating a special one-off family voucher for a parcel that would last five days, with sample menus.
The scheme has helped provide more than 5500 meals for children, enabling families to spend money on other essentials during the holidays.
But there is a second, transformative area of work the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change partnership has been instrumental in supporting. While our incredible volunteers continue to work tirelessly to support communities, we’re determined to reach a future where no one is forced to a food bank.
Right now, far too many people across our society are facing hunger and that’s just not right. But it doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of the UK’s future.
With cutting edge research and compelling evidence, we can work with policy makers to help find solutions moving towards an end to the need for food banks. Our partnership has been fundamental in supporting our work with academics to produce State of Hunger, the largest ever piece of research into hunger and food bank use in the UK.
This three-year project, carried out by researchers at Heriot-Watt University, will help us to understand the scale of hunger and poverty in the UK and is already informing our advocacy, campaigning and long-term work to move closer to a future where everyone has enough money for the essentials.
We are determined to ensure no one in their community goes hungry. Better still, we are determined to end the need for food banks in the UK – and the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change is helping us get there.