Our campaign engagement officer, Hannah Mae Trow, explains how one village has pulled together to push for a #HungerFreeFuture in the lead up to this Christmas.
This year has been incredibly difficult for so many people across the country. We’ve all been hit by something unexpected and outside of our control, and for thousands of us that has meant not having enough money for the basics. Food banks in our network have seen more people than ever before being forced to them for support. This isn’t right.
But we can’t ignore that this year has also shown us is just how much people care about each other – and it couldn’t have been clearer in 2020 just how much people want to act on that compassion, and work for a future where there’s justice for all of us.
Which brings us to the village of Quidhampton, in Wiltshire.
I’ve worked with campaigners and activists for a few years at the Trussell Trust now, but I’m still surprised at just how much people come together to do amazing feats of community activism – both online and ‘in real life’.
So I was delighted to hear that in Quidhampton, not too far from where I live, members of the village community banded together to support the fight for a Hunger Free Future. Villagers proudly displayed their plate protest plates to tell neighbours about the campaign, collected food across the neighbourhood and donated money to support our work.
Bea Tilbrook, the editor of the Quidhampton Village Newspaper, regularly puts out mentions of our work and of collections happening in the village. She sent out a village-wide email about the plate protest, and it wasn’t long before many community members were joining together to take action:
Jane at Alexandra Cottages not only put up her plate protest poster in the window to explain why she wants a Hunger Free Future, but also generously donated £200 to help us in the fight to end the need for food banks.
Nick and Tat from Coronation Square regularly do neighbourhood food collections, and this time they manage to collect over 38kg of food and toiletries for Salisbury Foodbank.
And many other members of the village proudly displayed their posters in their homes, in their car windows, and the bus shelter.
‘I think it is a sad statement of the UK that so many people need to use a food bank. I think it is truly wonderful what you (Trussell) do to support people in crisis, but we can do so much better as a country than this. Universal Credit is not a one size fits all, and the government really needs to look at it and put the human element back in to its policies.
The country is full of good people and heroes, like your volunteers and NHS workers. I believe we all want to see the end of poverty, and we need the government to do their bit to make it happen.
I am supporting the campaign (Hunger Free Future) and putting my money where my mouth is. I hope you get many people supporting you too to end the need for food banks.’
Together, thanks to people like Jane, Bea, Nick and Tat showing how everyone can get involved, the village of Quidhampton is calling for change.
Which made me think: how many other communities would come together to take action too?
So my challenge for the new year, if you’ll take it, is to see if you can rally your community to join the #HungerFreeFuture campaign. There are so many different ways people can get show their support. Sign up here to find out the different ways you, and your neighbours, could get involved.