What do we spend donations on?

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The Trussell Trust is a charity which supports a network of 1,200 food bank centres across the UK to provide emergency support to people as we work together towards a future where everyone has enough food.  

We don’t spend donated money on food to give to people – the vast majority of food provided by food banks in our network is donated generously by members of the public.  

We’re working to end the need for food banks and while it’s not a simple task, it can be done. If we’re to reach a future where everyone can afford essentials, we need to do three things:  

  1. Support food banks to provide the best possible support to people right now  
  2. Tackle the structural issues that lead to people needing food banks in long-term
  3. Win hearts and minds over to inspire action to create a just society.  

So what does that actually mean in terms of work?  

Supporting food banks to provide the best possible support to people 

There are more than 1,200 food bank centres in our network across the UK, and we support them so they can give the best possible help to people. We work alongside food banks in our network to ensure projects are run to a high standard and provide training, guidance and resources with issues projects face. This includes: 

  • One to one support on the ground through an Area Manager 
  • Access and support for a range of unique cloud-based systems that refer people to food banks and measure how many people are needing food banks 
  • A grants programme which can be used to fund a variety of different things that food banks might struggle to fund otherwise (you can read more about the difference these grants make here in this blog from Colchester Foodbank) 
  • Access to a central support team 
  • Support with sourcing and distributing food stock 
  • A share in nationally negotiated fundraising partnerships with corporates 
  • Best practice sharing across food banks 
  • Support in responding to crises or unexpected situations as they arise  

Tackling the structural issues that lead people to need food banks 

We’re working to end the need for food banks in the future through a range of research, advocacy and campaigning work. We work with academics and researchers to understand who needs food banks and why, so we can then work with policy makers to push for changes that would better protect people from needing a food bank 

Winning hearts and minds over to inspire action to create a just society 

If we want a society that not only thinks it’s wrong people need food banks, but is ready and willing to take action to create a future where food banks aren’t needed, we need to take people on a journey to help them understand what drives people to need food banks and how we can change things. That’s why we’re also working to build a movement of people who care, understand and want to keep the conversation about food bank use in the UK on the agenda so there’s public pressure to address these crucial issues.   

So what money goes where? 

We take our responsibility for any money donated to us very seriously. We spend some money on salaries because to do all of this work we need to be able to pay a team for their expertiseWe’re always carefully weighing decisions about expenditure to ensure what we spend money on is appropriate, while ensuring we have a team that are paid for their skills and experience 

Our financial information is all available online and our most recent annual report is for the year to March 2020. In it you can see £4.78 million went out directly to food banks in grants and £4.88 million was spent on food bank network costs and benefits. In total, about 70% of the Trussell Trust’s income supported or benefitted food banks directly. 12% was used to fund our advocacy work to push for long-lasting change. 7% was used to run charity shops and other social enterprise projects which you can read more about here, and 12% went towards fundraising costs. 

We don’t think it’s right that anyone needs to use a food bank in the UK. And we know this can change. That’s why we spend donor money on supporting food banks to provide the best possible support to people right now, tackling the structural issues that lead to people needing food banks in long-term, and winning hearts and minds over to ensuring we never let this happen in our country again.  

If you’d like to be part of creating that change, you can find out more here