Our story

How we got to where we are today...

Today, we support over 1,200 food bank centres across the UK. Together, we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, while also campaigning for change to end the need for food banks in the future.

The Trussell Trust is founded

Carol and Paddy Henderson founded the Trussell Trust in 1997 based on a legacy left by Carol’s mother, Betty Trussell.

The Trussell Trust’s initial Bulgaria projects focused on improving conditions for the 60+ children sleeping at Central Railway Station in Bulgaria.

In 2000, Paddy received a call from a mother in Salisbury, who was struggling to afford food and faced sending her children to bed hungry.

Paddy investigated data on poverty and deprivation in the UK and found that significant numbers of people faced going hungry as a result of a sudden crisis. So Paddy started Salisbury Foodbank in his garden shed and garage, providing three days’ emergency food to local people in crisis.

The food bank model spread rapidly through church networks and, in particular, inspiration was drawn from a verse from Matthew’s gospel in the Bible which reads: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)

Network of food banks

Twenty years later, we now support a  network of food banks across the UK, supported by thousands of volunteers. Each provides emergency food to people in crisis, and additional support to help tackle the root causes that sweep people into poverty and build people’s resilience, so they are less likely to need a food bank in the future.

We know it takes more than food to end hunger. So we bring together the experiences of food banks in our network, and their communities, to challenge the structural economic issues that lock people in poverty, and campaign for change to end hunger and poverty in the UK so that food banks can be resigned to the history books.