Posts in 'Archives'

The government has stepped up to provide vital local welfare – now’s the time to fix the holes in the national safety net too

Share this:

Ellie Thompson, Policy and Public Affairs Officer

In all the hubbub of a very busy news week last week, one exciting announcement that may have slipped under people’s radars was the creation of a new Covid Winter Grant Scheme to help people struggling to afford food and other essentials. The scheme will see £170m given to councils in England to spend on supporting people worst affected by the crisis between the start of December and the end of March 2021. This decision to provide funding for local welfare assistance is testament to the efforts of food banks, campaigners and charities across the country, who have all been calling for this vital support.

Provision of local welfare assistance by local authorities, which can include emergency cash grants as well as longer-term support (such as debt and benefits advice), has long been recognised as a key part of the social security system. In our recent report Local Lifelines we highlighted the crucial role that this support played during the Covid-19 crisis, particularly in areas where the local authority had previously invested in their support scheme and were able to respond quickly and flexibly to support those in financial crisis during the lockdown. This provision of effective local welfare assistance can help prevent a financial emergency from escalating into a more sustained crisis. (more…)

Read more

A big festive thank you

Share this:

This is a guest blog post by our partner Asda.

This Christmas, we’re saying a big festive thank you to everyone helping to deliver our £20m Asda Fight Hunger Create Change campaign. That’s all the unsung heroes – the volunteers, our colleagues and our customers – who share our vision that no-one in this country should go hungry.

People like Christine Bromley, who volunteers at FareShare’s East Midlands warehouse four days a week between 8.30am and 5.30pm.

Read about Christine and some of our other volunteers

Christine, who’s 67 and has two children and four grandchildren, said: “I’ve lived and worked in Leicester all of my life, so it means a lot to me to be able to help people from all walks of life in the city.

“I know there are lots of people in the city that need help – it’s the same in any big city.

“I used to work as a secretary, but in 2015 the company I worked at went under. I decided I wanted to become a volunteer and now I spend four days a week at the warehouse, working on average eight hours a day.

“I just wanted to help people, and also stop food waste. Good food being thrown away just shouldn’t be happening so I really wanted to do something to help.

“I used to go out with the drivers and see the people we help for myself – foodbanks, hostels, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, schools – and it was a real eye-opener. You appreciate how fortunate you are. I feel like I’m doing a good deed by helping all these people who are in need.”

“I really enjoy it. My family think the fact I volunteer here is brilliant, they’re all for it too.”

“When I worked as a secretary I felt like I was just a number, and it was all about profits only. This is completely different, it’s not for profit and is a much more positive and friendly environment.”

Asda’s Fight Hunger Create Change campaign has funded a new warehouse for FareShare East Midlands, meaning they can provide even more food to those in need.

Christine said: “Asda’s support means a lot to me, and it means a lot to everybody at FareShare. Asda being involved really highlights the work we do and the work FareShare does, so people find out about us, know what we’re about and how we help people.”

“The new warehouse is a lot better, we’ve got much more room and more space for chilled products, we used to be tripping over each other in the old warehouse.”

“I load food on to the vans, book food in and tidy up – anything that needs to be done really. There’s always a lot to do, the days fly by.”

“It’s a very physical role but I enjoy that side of it too – I used to really dislike sitting at a desk all day!”

So here’s a big festive thank you to Christine, for everything that you do!

This Christmas, we’re saying a big festive thank you to everyone helping to deliver our £20m Asda Fight Hunger Create Change campaign. That’s all the unsung heroes – the volunteers, our colleagues and our customers – who share our vision that no-one in this country should go hungry.

People like Liz, the Community Champion at our Warrington store. She’s been working with a local group to provide fresh food for people in the local community in need.

It all started when Ames, a local volunteer, rang the store and asked what Asda did with its food waste and whether we could donate it to her project.

“Her idea was to put community fridges in various community centres,” said Liz. “Local supermarkets could donate food, and members of the public could access the fridge and take fresh food in times of need.”

“Ames at this point didn’t have a fridge, so I offered her space in store to bag pack and raise money for the first fridge.”

With the first fridge in place, Liz supported Ames to access food distributed through the FareShare network and the three Asda stores in Warrington began to donate food each month. Called the Hapi Hub project, there are now four of these community fridges in the area.

Liz said: “Ames has also set up a community lunch club, and with our support ran the first one using produce donated to make a fantastic two-course meal, open to everyone, for only £3.”

Liz helped raise money on the day and the Asda Foundation supported with a top up too.

“Three sessions later and Ames is over the moon to be in profit for Hapi Hub, which will enable the next step of the journey – cooking lessons for kids starting in January!”

So here’s a big festive thank you to Liz, and to Ames, for everything that you do!

This Christmas, we’re saying a big festive thank you to everyone helping to deliver our £20m Asda Fight Hunger Create Change campaign. That’s all the unsung heroes – the volunteers, our colleagues and our customers – who share our vision that no-one in this country should go hungry.

People like the Community Champion at Asda Middlesbrough, Jenny Barnett. Taking inspiration from our Fight Hunger Create Change campaign, Jenny contacted Redcar foodbank earlier this year to see if they needed help and has proved “a lifesaver” for them, setting up a permanent collection point in the store and volunteering with them every Wednesday.

The foodbank say they would have really struggled to stay afloat without Jenny and Asda’s help.

Foodbank manager Helen Hedges said: “The collection point has been a godsend to us, a real lifesaver, because sadly we’re getting more clients than ever. South Bank is quite a needy area.

“Sometimes we get half a ton of donations each month from Asda which has kept us afloat, particularly in the summer when we struggle for donations.”

“It’s brilliant having Jenny and Asda on board, the whole relationship works really well. She’s helped us set up awareness days in the store too which is great.”

“Jenny’s fantastic, particularly with the children who come in with clients.”

Jenny said: “With the Fight Hunger campaign I wanted the store to have a strong link to a local foodbank, so I contacted the one at Redcar.”

“I set up a permanent collection point and wanted to offer my services in person too. After my first shift there they said ‘please come back next week!’ so I go every Wednesday.”

“I have a great relationship with them, they’re absolutely brilliant – they’re like my best friends.

“When I’m there I help out in the cafe serving free hot meals to guests, wash up, make up food parcels, meet and greet the guests and play with their children while they’re getting support – anything they need.”

So here’s a big festive thank you to Jenny, and to Helen, for everything that you do!

This Christmas, we’re saying a big festive thank you to everyone helping to deliver our £20m Asda Fight Hunger Create Change campaign. That’s all the unsung heroes – the volunteers, our colleagues and our customers – who share our vision that no-one in this country should go hungry.

People like Jackie Beeley, who set up the Gateshead Foodbank with a group of church friends six years ago, when they discovered Gateshead did not have a foodbank.

Asda Gateshead’s community champion Lynn Ivison has helped them from their inception, and crucially helped them secure a permanent donation point in the store. This began six months ago and has made a huge difference to them.

Jackie said: “We set the foodbank up six years ago and it’s run totally by volunteers.”

“A few of us went to a local church concert and saw a sign for Durham Foodbank. We wondered if there was a Gateshead Foodbank and found out there wasn’t, so we thought it would be a good idea to set one up.”

“We gradually got volunteers and referral agencies on board and it went from there.”

“My working background is in social care and project management, so I use those skills to manage the foodbank.”

Jackie says that she has been really grateful for Lynn’s support.

“Lynn’s always been around to help us during the six years, and we’ve built up a great relationship with her” she said. “She also helped us get a £1,000 Asda Foundation for Christmas hampers to give out last year.”

“We hold awareness days in the store, and six months ago we got a permanent collection point in the store which has really taken off. Before that, they could only donate on our awareness days in the store.”

“Customers can now put food in whenever they want, and we go along every week to collect the donations. This is vital, we feed around 125 people a week, and we now have a regular supply of food which allows us to supply food to more people.”

So here’s a big festive thank you to Jackie, and to Lynn, for everything that you do!

This Christmas, we’re saying a big festive thank you to everyone helping to deliver our £20m Asda Fight Hunger Create Change campaign. That’s all the unsung heroes – the volunteers, our colleagues and our customers – who share our vision that no-one in this country should go hungry.

People like the fantastic team at FareShare’s London depot, who ensure essential food supplies are delivered to the charities and foodbanks helping people in need in the capital is expanding thanks to the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change campaign.

Derek Blunden is one of the volunteer drivers who distributes food for FareShare. He wanted to give something back to the community after selling his printing business following a cancer diagnosis.

Derek said: “I was going to work until I was 70, but I got diagnosed with prostate cancer about five years ago. About two years ago I fell asleep at work, which was due to the side effects of the treatment. I thought, ‘What am I doing, I’m 67 – I’m going to jack this in and give something back to the community.”

“I wanted to volunteer with the NHS but signing up with them would have taken several months, so I went along to a local volunteering centre. They suggested FareShare, and it’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

“I distribute food parcels to all sorts of people – on a typical day I could be visiting a foodbank, a community centre hosting a meal for elderly people and a hostel for homeless people – and they’re all extremely grateful. That’s one of the best things about doing the driving job – you see the end product, and you’re the person they thank, even though all I do is deliver the food!”

We’re investing £20 million over the next three years to help FareShare and The Trussell Trust – and at FareShare’s London depot our funding has paid for a delivery driver and a charities coordinator to join full time.”

FareShare’s London development manager Rachel Ledwith says this will be a tremendous help.

She said: “Asda’s support is making a huge difference. This funding means we can expand our reach further across the city, reaching those communities in the Greater London boroughs where we are seeing an increasing need for our services.”

“Without drivers we have no way of delivering the food. Our volunteers are brilliant and keep our operation moving, but with an employed driver we have a guarantee that deliveries will happen on the days they work – it makes our operation and support much more sustainable.”

“FareShare’s mission is to access and redistribute the estimated 270,000 tonnes of food which goes to waste in the UK each year, and redistribute it to those in need. Asda’s funding is enabling us to do that – affording us the opportunity to invest in our resource to over the next three years, feed thousands more vulnerable people across London and the UK each week.”

So here’s a big festive thank you to Jeff, Rachel and all the team at FareShare London for everything that you do!

Read more

Asda, The Trussell Trust and Fareshare launch £20 million partnership to help a million people out of food poverty

Share this:

We are thrilled to announce a new partnership between Asda, The Trussell Trust and FareShare in a three year programme that will prove transformative for people facing hunger in our communities. The Fight Hunger Create Change programme will give support directly to foodbanks across the UK to expand their services to help more people in crisis, and enable us to develop our More Than Food projects, such as holidays clubs and Eat Well Spend Less courses, that help build resilience so people are less likely to need a foodbank in the future. And in partnership with FareShare it will also create a delivery structure of fresh food to foodbanks. (more…)

Read more

Dave Magill, Area Manager for Northern Ireland reflects on the ‘reality of foodbanks’

Share this:

I’ve now worked for Trussell Trust for 7 months. I had another of what I think of as my ‘reality of foodbank’ moments today.

We were in a meeting with someone who wanted information about how a Trussell Trust foodbank works. As we explained the model that we use, causes of food poverty and talked through some statistics of foodbank use in Northern Ireland and the wider UK network, I was again experiencing the contrast of feeling that comes with this job.

Working with foodbanks is simultaneously saddening, infuriating, uplifting and inspiring. Working with people of such passion and commitment to serving and helping those in crisis in their community is humbling and challenging. Engaging with the causes and reality of food poverty in 21st century Northern Ireland is shocking and crushing. (more…)

Read more

Chris Mould steps down from The Trussell Trust Board of Trustees

Share this:

Chris has been an integral part of The Trussell Trust from the early days, helping to steer it from a small local charity to one which has a major impact in the UK serving those in poverty. During his time he has been passionate about this and also the work which started in Bulgaria, the initial reason for the formation of the Trust. Chris has been a trustee since 2003, several of those as Chair of the Board during the time of rapid expansion of the foodbank network.

He has decided it is time for him to step back from The Trussell Trust to allow him to concentrate on his work with the Foundation for Social Change and Inclusion which now operates in The Balkans as well as in Bulgaria, continuing the work started back in 1997.

Liz Pollard, Chair of Trustees said:

“Chris has been instrumental in shaping The Trussell Trust into an organisation that now provides a lifeline for tens of thousands of people in crisis across the UK each year through our network of foodbanks. It has been a privilege to work alongside him and I wish him all the best as he pursues new challenges in the future.”

Read more

The Trussell Trust appoints a new Chief Executive

Share this:

Emma comes with a wealth of experience in the charity sector and is passionate about finding a long-term solution to help the growing number of people who are struggling to put food on the table.

A message from Emma:

“I am delighted to be appointed as Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust. The work of our foodbank network is inspiring and I relish the opportunity to work alongside them to tackle poverty and to end hunger in the UK. We face significant challenges ahead with the number of food parcels distributed by our network up by 13% in the first 6 months of this year to 587,000, with 209,000 going to children. 

“I want to see the end of the need for emergency food services in our country, to work with Government to ensure that our benefits system provides a genuine safety net for people and work is paid a fair wage, allowing individuals and families to thrive rather than just stave off crisis.

“Although the recent Budget marked a positive step forward, there is still much more to be done and I look forward to working with our staff and foodbank network to bring further change.”


Elizabeth Pollard, Chair of the Board of Trustees at The Trussell Trust said:

“I am delighted to announce that Emma Revie has been appointed to be the new Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust.

“Over the past year alone foodbanks in our network have helped hundreds of thousands of men, women and children referred to them in crisis, and demand is rising. With her enormously impressive track record, we are convinced that Emma has the vision and experience to lead The Trussell Trust through these challenges. 

“Through providing emergency food we will continue to help families and individuals at the point of crisis, while building more holistic ‘More Than Food’ services to give people the tools to build resilience. And we will continue to research, campaign and advocate for political solutions to the poverty that is forcing so many people through our doors in the first place.”

Emma, who joins us from Ambition, a national membership body for organisations working with young people, will take up her role in February 2018.

Read more

Guest blog: We should stop debating and start solving increasing foodbank use

Share this:

UCL has always led on issues of significance to the nutritional health of the nation. Dr Jack Drummond, the first Professor of Biochemistry at UCL and former Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, was the wartime Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Food, which introduced food-rationing on the basis of his “sound nutritional principles”. It was essential work because a 1936 survey had suggested that half of the British population could not afford an adequate diet. Food poverty is a major public health concern again. One of its most visible symptoms is the number of people attending Foodbanks to receive emergency food aid. The Trussell Trust has reported that in the first 6 months of this year, referrals were up by 13% to 587,000 people, including 209,000 children. (more…)

Read more

Observer Food Monthly Awards – Outstanding Achievement

Share this:

Photograph: Adrian Sherratt for the Observer

We are delighted to announce that our work to help people facing food poverty has been nationally recognised. On Thursday 12th October, we were honoured to receive the Observer Food Monthly Award for Outstanding Achievement. Observer columnist Jay Rayner and television personality and food writer Nigella Lawson co-hosted this year’s celebrations.

The awards, which are now in their 14th year, are voted for by both readers and a judging panel.  Speaking on receiving the award, Elizabeth Pollard, Chair of Trustees said: ‘We are so proud of how hard everyone works to stop people going hungry, and grateful to every donor and supporter who contributes to making that work possible. We also thank the Observer for recognising everyone’s contribution and highlighting the work that needs to be done.”

For the full story, as featured in The Guardian at the weekend, click here:

Read more

Cutting edge research provides unparalleled detail on UK Poverty

Share this:

People referred to foodbanks face extreme financial insecurity and are struggling with rising food and housing costs, research by the University of Oxford has revealed. The research also finds that half of households referred to foodbanks include a disabled person, while mental health problems affect people in 1 in 3 households.

Commissioned by The Trussell Trust, which runs a network of over 420 foodbanks in the UK, this is the single biggest nationwide study on foodbank use to date. Involving more than 400 households referred to foodbanks, the data collected on demographics, income levels, living conditions, health, and food insecurity provides unparalleled new detail about both the circumstances of people referred to foodbanks and the key drivers of foodbank use.

Key findings on the circumstances of people referred to foodbanks

  • Financial and food insecurity: Almost half of households reported their incomes were unsteady from week-to-week and month-to-month. 78% are severely food insecure (meaning they had skipped meals and gone without eating – sometimes for days at a time – in the past 12 months), while over half could not afford heating or toiletries
  • Price rises: 3 in 5 households had recently experienced rising or unexpected expenses, with 25% of these saying higher food expenses were to blame, confirming the impact of food inflation on squeezed budgets
  • Housing: 28% of those who had experienced rising expenses said this was due to housing costs, such as rent or energy, going up. Tenants in private housing were more likely to find it difficult to keep up with rents than socially rented properties
  • Disability and mental health: Over 50% of households included a disabled person, consistent with the definition used in national surveys. 75% experienced ill health in their household. Mental health conditions affected people in 1/3 of households
  • Debt: 1 in 3 households were finding it difficult to make minimum monthly repayments on outstanding loans, and nearly 1 in 5 in debt owed money to payday lenders

The report found people were experiencing multiple forms of destitution. 50% had gone without heating for more than four days in the past 12 months, 50% couldn’t afford toiletries, and 1 in 5 had slept rough in the last 12 months. Over 78% of households were severely, and often chronically, food insecure.

Key findings on drivers of foodbank use

Almost all households had experienced a drop in income in the past three months, unsteady incomes, or an unexpected expense or rise in expenses in the past three months.

  • Benefit delays: Nearly 2 in 5 people were awaiting a benefit payment, with most of these waiting up to 6 weeks, though a fifth were waiting 7 weeks or more. A third of delays were for Employment Support Allowance payments, with people assessed as capable of taking steps to move into work in the future particularly at risk of needing a foodbank
  • Income shocks: 2 in 3 people had been hit by a recent ‘income shock’, with most experiencing sharp rises in housing costs or food expenses
  • Low income: The average income of households in the month before being referred to a foodbank was reported at around £320, with 20% of households still needing to pay housing costs. This falls well below low income thresholds, before and after housing costs, and is a fraction of the national average. 16% had no income at all in the last month

David McAuley, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust, said today:

“Last year, Trussell Trust foodbank volunteers provided 1.2 million emergency food supplies to people in crisis. This pioneering research confirms to us what those volunteers have been telling us: Every day they are meeting people trying to cope with low, insecure incomes and rising prices that mean even the smallest unexpected expense can leave them destitute and hungry – be that an unexpected bill, bereavement or the loss of income caused by benefit delay. Particularly concerning are the very high numbers of disabled people or people with mental health problems needing foodbanks.

“These findings reaffirm how vital the work of foodbanks and generosity of donors is, but are also a clear challenge to the new Government to do more to stop people ending up in crisis in the first place. In particular, we call for a renewed commitment to halving the disability employment gap through a Work, Disability, and Health Bill, and for this commitment to include a review into the financial support provided for people who are in the ‘work-related activity group’, on Employment Support Allowance. Making work more secure and tackling the high cost of living would also have a significant impact on the lives of people in extreme poverty. I look forward to working with the new Government to start tackling these issues together.”

Dr Rachel Loopstra, the lead author of the report, Lecturer in Nutrition at King’s College London, and Associate Member of the Department of Sociology, University of Oxford, said today:

“The stories emerging from food banks across the country have surprised and shocked many people but until now, we have not been able to put them in a numerical context. Our survey data show how people using food banks are unable to ensure they always have enough food to eat because their incomes are too low and too insecure. We observed how commonly income or expenditure shocks, whether arising from a delay in receiving a benefit payment, from a benefit sanction, or from rising energy costs, tipped households into food bank use. But these shocks, and resulting food bank usage, occur among people who live with extremely low incomes and chronic food insecurity, where meeting basic needs is an ongoing struggle. The severity and chronicity of food insecurity and other forms of destitution we observed amongst people using food banks are serious public health concerns.”

The report emphasises a need for intervention to help reduce extreme poverty and foodbank use:

  1. An inquiry into adequacy of benefits and support for disabled people or people with long-term health conditions that make getting into work, or staying in work, difficult or impossible, as well as continued commitment to reviewing the appropriateness of Work Capability Assessments, would be invaluable.
  2. Delays in benefit payments must be addressed with urgency, with more support provided for people affected, with a view to indexing benefits to the cost of living.
  3. Insecure employment must be addressed in order to make sure work pays and reduce the financial vulnerability of people in insecure or low-paid work.
  4. An evaluation of the impact of conditionality, particularly as Universal Credit extends sanctioning to people in work.

The full report is available here.


Contact The Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or [email protected]

Abby Jitendra, [email protected] or Emma Thorogood, [email protected]


This report was a collaborative project between researchers at the University of Oxford, King’s College London, and The Trussell Trust Foodbank Network. It was jointly funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account at the University of Oxford and the Trussell Trust. The research was designed and facilitated by Rachel Loopstra and Doireann Lalor, with support from Trussell Trust staff. A random sample of foodbanks from England, Scotland and Wales was selected to be invited to participate in the study. This report is based on data from the first 18 participating foodbanks, which were trained to implement and facilitate data collection in their own distribution sites. Over 4-week data collection periods, food banks recruited a significant total sample of 413 households. This reflected a response rate of 71% of eligible households asked to participate.

The Trussell Trust:

  • The Trussell Trust is an anti-poverty charity that runs a network of over 420 foodbanks across the UK.
  • Trussell Trust foodbanks provide three days’ nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis in the UK, and many foodbanks offer free additional services, like money advice and budget cookery courses as part of the charity’s ‘More Than Food’ approach, to build resilience and help prevent people needing referral to a foodbank again. Foodbank volunteers are also trained to signpost people to other agencies and services able to help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis.
  • Everyone who comes to a Trussell Trust foodbank is referred by a professional such as a social worker, health visitor or schools liaison officer. Over 30,000 frontline professionals refer people to Trussell Trust foodbanks, and 50 percent are statutory agencies.
  • Over 90 percent of food given out by Trussell Trust foodbanks is donated by the public. In 2016-17, 11,175 tonnes of food were given to people in crisis.

The Trussell Trust is a charity motivated by Christian principles. For more on The Trussell Trust visit

Read more

My experience of a university placement at Bournemouth Foodbank

Share this:

Initially, I was apprehensive; this was the first time I could put into practice what I have been taught during the last 2 years at university. However, there was no need to be nervous as the food bank team at Bournemouth were incredibly welcoming and made me feel at home.

Bournemouth Foodbank and The Trussell Trust are carrying out fantastic work in providing nutrition to those in crisis. I have been amazed at how generous the public are in donating their time to volunteer at the foodbank, but also the volume of those donating food. (more…)

Read more