Leading voice on social security and economic policy joins the Trussell Trust

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Head shot of Helen Barnard

Anti-poverty charity the Trussell Trust, who oversee a network of more than 1,300 food banks, has appointed Helen Barnard as their new Director of Policy, Research and Impact.

Helen, who was previously Associate Director at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Research and Policy Director at Pro Bono Economics, will join the Trussell Trust on 20th March.

In addition to these roles, Helen recently published a book ‘Want’ which examines some of the root causes and potential solutions to poverty in UK society.

Speaking about the appointment, Emma Revie, CEO of the Trussell Trust, said:

“We are delighted that Helen will be joining the team and leading our already strong policy, influencing and evidence-building work. This work is crucial to our strategic goal of ending the need for food banks. Helen brings with her a high degree of expertise, a wealth of experience in the anti-poverty sector, and a values-driven approach to leadership, all of which will be key as we launch new advocacy campaigns and publish the findings of Hunger in the UK, our largest ever research project.”

Paul Kissack, Group Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said:

“Over the many years she has been with JRF, Helen Barnard’s impact has been immense. She built our first in-house analysis team, deepening our understanding of the scale and nature of UK poverty and providing invaluable insights into key social, economic and policy trends. Prior to this Helen developed and led programmes of research and policy focusing on child poverty, labour markets, poverty and ethnicity, destitution and education. She has been at the forefront of JRF’s recent campaigning work on Universal Credit, as well as leading the organisation as Director during the first year of the Covid pandemic.

JRF is losing a treasured and respected colleague who will be sorely missed. But we are thrilled that Helen is joining Trussell Trust – an organisation doing extraordinarily important work across the UK. And we are delighted to be working with Helen again in her new role, on our new JRF and Trussell Trust campaign for an Essentials Guarantee, where her formidable campaigning skills and unparalleled knowledge of the issues affecting people in poverty will be an enormous asset.”

The appointment is timely as Trussell Trust and Joseph Rowntree Foundation have recently begun to work more closely to advocate for solutions to address the increasing levels of poverty in the UK.

Earlier this week, the two charities launched ‘Guarantee Our Essentials’, a campaign that calls on the Government to enshrine in law a process that guarantees Universal Credit payments meet the cost of essential items. The campaign proposes that the Government commit to an Essentials Guarantee that ensure Universal Credit payments are always enough to meet the cost of a pre-determined basket of items including gas and electric bills, core food such as bread, rice and vegetables, and items like toothpaste and washing up liquid.

Research by the charities found that for a single person there is currently a £35 weekly shortfall between the basic level of Universal Credit and the cost of essential items, and that if an Essential Guarantee was implemented it could potentially benefit almost nine million families across the UK.

Prior to ‘Guarantee Our Essentials’, the Trussell Trust and Joseph Rowntree Foundation had collaborated on a number of other initiatives including pandemic response and the campaign to keep the £20 benefit uplift.

Read more about Guarantee our Essentials


Notes to editors
Helen Barnard is available for interview on Friday, March 3rd. To arrange an interview please contact either: