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British Gas partners with the Trussell Trust to help food banks during Coronavirus crisis

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  • British Gas engineers and colleagues will be able to support their local area by collecting and delivering food parcels – the company hopes its people will support with 50,000 deliveries a month
  • British Gas employees can also volunteer to donate and sort food parcels

British Gas will be working with Trussell Trust by encouraging its people to volunteer with a local food bank. The Trussell Trust is seeing three main challenges impacting food banks as a result of Coronavirus and British Gas will be working with it to address these:

  1. To prevent the spread of the virus food banks have moved to a system where they are delivering parcels to the doorsteps of the people that need them most, rather than encouraging groups of people to come together at a food bank centre. British Gas will be setting up local networks of engineers and employees to assist with an anticipated 50,000 deliveries a month.
  2. Collecting food donations and transporting them to local food banks has become increasingly difficult. To help ensure food supplies at food banks, British Gas staff can donate to food banks, and engineers can also pick up food from supermarkets and wholesalers.
  3. Food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network have more than 28,000 regular volunteers but many of these are over 70, and some have underlying health conditions. Food banks have asked any volunteers considered as ‘at risk’ to stay at home, leaving them needing more volunteers. British Gas will therefore be encouraging employees to volunteer with their local food bank.

British Gas is currently only attending emergency and essential visits including for vulnerable customers in order to manage demand in these challenging times and follow Government guidelines about non-essential contact. It also has robust safety procedures in place for contact with customers. It anticipates many of its people that will volunteer will be ones whose workloads have been lessened in the current crisis or those who can fit the volunteering work easily around their vital day job.

Matthew Bateman, Managing Director of Field Operations at British Gas, said:

“Our engineers, call centre and support teams are playing a crucial role in ensuring our customer’s homes are safe, warm and working and I’m so proud of the amazing work they are doing. Many of our people are already helping their communities by volunteering at food banks, getting shopping for vulnerable customers and even using their skills to make face masks to give to NHS workers! There are still so many of our people that want to do more to help those in need so by working with the Trussell Trust we can help get food and other essentials to those who really need it. We are in a unique position to help with our nationwide reach and with the third largest fleet in the UK.”

Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust said,

As the coronavirus pandemic develops, we’re working closely with food banks to support them to continue providing vital emergency food to people who can’t afford the essentials in a safe way. Being able to deliver food bank parcels to people’s homes will really help us ensure everyone’s safety – but it’s a big change to the way food banks normally work. That’s why it’s so important to have the support of British Gas.

“Everyone should be able to afford their own food and we’ll be continuing our work to end the need for food banks, but right now more people than ever are likely to need a food bank’s help. This partnership will help us get donated food to food banks for packing, and then deliver those vital parcels to people who can’t afford food. We’re so grateful to British Gas for their support.”

British Gas has also been able to support its existing charity partner, Carers UK, after the charity has seen a 60% increase in call demand in recent weeks. Carers urgently need advice on care and social distancing, resources for remote caring and support with food and community services. So, for the next 12 weeks, British Gas is helping Carers UK to keep the helpline and email service running throughout the week, so that they can provide vital support and advice.

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Tesco announces £15 million food donations to support food banks and local community groups

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Today Tesco has confirmed that over the next 12 weeks it will be providing a top up food donation of £15 million of food (ambient and fresh) to FareShare and the Trussell Trust, as part of a wider £25 million package of support they have set up for local communities during the current Covid-19 outbreak. They are also donating £1 million between the two organisations.

This support comes at a critical time as the pressure the pandemic is putting on people’s income builds and the possibility of an increased need for emergency food grows. The food they supply will be distributed to community groups and food banks so that it can reach people in crisis as quickly as possible, with the additional funding supporting FareShare and the Trussell Trust’s continuing operations to support charities in their networks.

The Trussell Trust’s CEO, Emma Revie, said:

“We are so grateful for this support from Tesco. As the pandemic develops, we’re working closely with food banks to ensure people who can’t afford essentials can get an emergency food parcel. But we can only provide that vital lifeline if we have food for those parcels.

“During any normal year, the next twelve weeks would see a squeeze on food bank stock levels, as donations often dip with the approach of summer. When we add the pressure this pandemic is putting on people’s incomes, and the possible increased need for emergency food, Tesco’s support really couldn’t come at a more critical time.

“Everyone should be able to afford their own food and we’ll be continuing our work to end the need for food banks, but right now more people than ever are likely to need our network’s help. That’s why Tesco’s support will make such a difference in communities across the UK.”

The wider package of support includes additional funding for Tesco’s existing Bags of Help community donation scheme; funding that stores can access to support causes in their local area; and a development of Tesco’s existing partnership with the British Red Cross as they work to support people in crisis.

Tesco Group CEO, Dave Lewis, said:

“Our stores are at the heart of the communities we serve and as well as supporting our customers and colleagues, we want to help those who need it most, locally. We will significantly boost our food donations programme, to ensure food banks and community groups have the supplies they need; whilst giving extra resources to the British Red Cross and focus our Bags of Help scheme to deliver more community support where its most needed at this difficult time.”

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Liam Payne helps provide 360,000 meals to people struggling as a result of the coronavirus outbreak

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  • Liam Payne has joined forces with national charity the Trussell Trust to support food banks in the Midlands and other key cities as they expect to see an increased need as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • This support will help over 100 food bank centres in Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry, Sheffield, Nottingham and Bristol continue to provide their essential community service for people in crisis.
  • It’s expected that these food banks will provide over 360,000 meals to people in crisis over the next three months, as the pandemic unfolds
  • Liam Payne’s donation is the beginning of a long term relationship with the Trussell Trust which will see him use his platform to continue to reach new audiences and raise awareness.

Singer-songwriter Liam Payne is supporting the Trussell Trust, a charity that works with a network of more than 1,200 food bank centres across the UK, to help support people struggling in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Last year, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network provided 1.6m emergency food parcels to people in crisis. More than half a million of these went to children.

The charity has warned more people are likely to need a food bank’s help support as a result of the outbreak – especially those who aren’t eligible for sick pay or have unstable jobs.

Wherever possible, food banks are continuing to provide emergency support to people in their community in the safest way possible. Food banks have had to make significant changes to the way they work in order to protect the health of everyone at the food bank – whether that’s people who need the food bank, people volunteering, or people donating.

Liam’s support will enable the Trussell Trust to launch a crisis fund for food banks in cities in his home region of the Midlands and other key cities across the UK, helping local food banks meet the expected increased need in the coming months.

Over the next three months, food banks that could benefit from Liam’s support are expected to provide over 120,000 meals to people in crisis. This new fund will help over 100 food bank centres to react to the changing needs of their community as the pandemic unfolds; recruiting additional staff, hiring delivery vehicles or extra space, or, if necessary and available, buying food. Ultimately, helping these food banks continue to provide their essential community service for people in crisis.

Liam said,

“It’s not right that anyone in our country is unable to afford food. Food banks do incredible work to help the people most in need of support. It’s vital that we get support to those people right now, as this crisis unfolds. The Trussell Trust is working with food banks across the country to ensure emergency help is there for people who don’t have money for the basics.

“But I’m also donating because of the work they do to work towards a future where no one needs a food bank – we can’t end the conversation with getting emergency food to people – as vital as that is. When we’re out the other side of this, we need to look at why there are people in our country who don’t have enough money for food. I want to play my part in finding a solution to ensure people have enough money to buy their own food – and end the need for food banks.”

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust said,

“We are so grateful to Liam for this generous donation. This will help us continue to support our network of food banks to provide the best possible emergency help to people referred at an uncertain time. We’re working with food banks across the country to make big changes to the way food banks work, so we can get emergency food to people in the safest way possible. This isn’t easy. Our main priority is the safety of everyone at a food bank, and having support like this helps us ensure that emergency support can continue to be available in the safest possible way. But ultimately, no one should need to use a food bank. Everyone should be able to afford their own food. Liam’s support will help people in the Midlands and other key cities get the emergency support they need today, while working towards a future where people have enough money for the essentials in life.”

Here's how you can help

You can make a donation by clicking on the button below. If you’re able to support food banks during these unprecedented times, it will make a real impact on the lives of people in crisis.

We’re doing all we can to support food banks at this time. Your support makes a real difference, and we’re grateful for your generosity in this time of uncertainty.

Please support your local food bank by checking what items are most needed, and donating those if you are able to.

You can find what food banks near you are in need of by using the search box below:

In association with  Give Food.

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What does tonight’s announcement mean for food banks?

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Our main priority is ensuring the safety of everyone who comes to a food bank – whether it’s someone needing help, someone volunteering their time, or someone making a donation. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, food banks face a difficult decision about whether they are able to stay open. Each food bank in our network is a local charity, run by a community for their local community, and each will be affected differently – so we’ll be working with each of them to look at what is safe for everyone involved.

Until we are confident that adequate government protection against poverty is in place, food banks provide an essential community service to people unable to afford food.

The latest government advice explains food banks can legally continue operating and buildings that host food banks can continue to open for those sessions, provided we follow social distancing rules, because your work qualifies you as key workers ‘caring for the vulnerable’.

At food banks, social distancing rules mean ensuring volunteers who are classed as ‘at risk’ because they are over 70 or have a health condition stay at home. It means making sure there are hand-washing facilities in any centre people are in, and everyone is asked to wash their hands regularly. It also means making big changes to the way centres work, to limit contact between people. This will look different in different centres, but it might mean:

  • Instead of being invited into a centre, people referred are immediately given a pre-packed food bank parcel in a practical, dignified and compassionate manner
  • Ensuring that wherever people are waiting, there is a large enough space for people to wait at least two metres apart
  • A reduced number of food bank sessions per week
  • Coordination with local agencies to give them pre-packed food bank parcels, or to deliver to people those agencies work with

The above is where we stand legally following the PM’s announcement but we will be working with each of the food banks in our network about what’s best for their local community.

The Trussell Trust will remain open and ready to support food banks in whatever difficult decision they make. If a food bank feels it can continue to run, in line with the government guidance and with the support of their volunteers and local community, we will do everything we can to support the food bank. If a food bank feels it is unable to open, we will look at how we can get work to get emergency food to people in that area who don’t have enough money for food, in a safe, alternative way.

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UK food banks fear busiest summer ever is ahead

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New figures released by the Trussell Trust reveal 20% increase in emergency food parcels for children in the UK last summer

The Trussell Trust is urging the public to donate food to their local food bank, as new figures show 87,496 food parcels went to children in the UK during the summer holidays in 2018, a 20% increase on the same period in 2017.*

Over a third of all emergency food parcels distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK-wide network go to children, but there is extra financial pressure during the holiday period for families who are entitled to free school meals during term time.

The figures come against a backdrop of soaring food bank use in UK. In 2018-19, food bank use escalated throughout the year with a 19% total increase**, and it is expected this trend will continue, prompting concerns that this summer will be the Trussell Trust network’s busiest to date.

Ahead of schools across England*** and Wales breaking up next week, the Trussell Trust is urging people check what items their local food bank is most in need of.

While these donations are vital for helping families during the next six weeks, the charity has stressed food banks are not a long-term solution, and more must be done to ensure people have enough money for essentials like food.

The Trussell Trust believes tackling delays and gaps in benefits, which affect families’ ability to afford essentials, should be treated as a priority by the Government. The most immediate relief for thousands of people would be to end the five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment, a key driver of need at food banks in the charity’s network.

The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said:

“Food banks will do all they can to help families over the summer, with many running holiday clubs to support parents who find that their income simply won’t stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals or paying for additional childcare during the holidays. But no charity can replace the dignity of having enough money for the basics.

“While it’s great to see schemes in place to tackle holiday hunger, food banks and other emergency food provision cannot, and must not, be a long term solution to poverty. Ultimately, we should all be protected from needing a food bank’s help, no matter the time of the year.

“If we are to end hunger in the UK, we need to make sure everyone is anchored from being swept into poverty. The Government needs to ensure benefit payments reflect the true cost of living and work is secure, paying the real Living Wage. Every family should have enough money coming in for a decent standard of living. No child should face going hungry in the UK.”



Contact the Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or

Notes to Editor

The Trussell Trust’s #5WeeksTooLong campaign is calling for an end to the 5+ week wait for Universal Credit.

  • ‘Emergency food parcel’: three days’ emergency food for one person. These statistics are a measure of volume rather than unique individuals. Recent analysis shows on average people need around two food bank referrals in a year. More information about the way this data is gathered and what it can and can’t show here.

About the Trussell Trust:

  • We’re here to end the need for food banks in UK.
  • We support a UK-wide network of more than 1,200 food bank centres and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.
  • Our most recent figures for the number of emergency food supplies provided by our network:
  • You can read more about our work at


*Number of food parcels to adults and children for the summer holidays in the UK


Food parcels to adults and children for summer holidays 2017 (Jul 1 – Aug 31) Food parcels to adults and children for summer holidays 2018 (Jul 1 – Aug 31) % change 2017-2018



Adults 128,918 151,700 17.7%
Children 73,226 87,496 19.5%
Total 202,144 239,196 18.3%


**Figures from food banks in the Trussell Trust network for 2018/19


  • Between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019, food banks in The Trussell Trust’s network provided 1,583,668 emergency supplies to people in crisis. 577,618 of these supplies went to children.
  • This is an 18.8% increase on the previous year, when 1,332,952 emergency supplies went to people in crisis; 484,026 of these went to children.

***Number of food parcels to adults and children for the 2018 school summer holidays in England (July 22 – August 31)


Region Adults Children Total Total % increase from 2017
South West 8,622 5,610 14,232 15.79%
South East 9,069 5,410 14,479 13.94%
North East 4,835 2,829 7,664 26.30%
North West 14,804 9,268 24,072 23.50%
London 10,682 6,166 16,848 25.88%
West Midlands 9,056 5,163 14,219 22.54%
East Midlands 4,726 2,832 7,558 12.02%
East 9,451 6,116 15,567 24.16%
Yorkshire & Humberside 6,091 3,753 9,844 14.49%




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Help people facing hunger in your community

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Asda stores across the UK are launching a week-long food drive today to help support their local food banks ahead of the school holidays.

Customers will be encouraged to donate much-needed supplies which will go to their local food banks, by donating items such as tinned goods and hygiene products in a trolley at the front of the store.

Every summer, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network report an increase in demand for emergency food for children over the summer holidays due to the extra financial pressure put on families who rely on free school meals during term time. This high demand often causes many food banks to distribute more food than is donated, which leaves them short of food supplies.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, 1.6 million emergency food parcels were distributed which is a 19% rise year on year and it is expected that this trend will continue into the summer.

Andy Murray, Chief Customer Officer for Asda said:

“We already have permanent food collection points in store and encourage our customers to donate what they can, but over the next week we’re really trying to increase the number of donations as we go into the summer holidays, when food banks sadly see such an increase in demand from families.

“Our customers and colleagues are always very generous and I want to thank them for supporting our Asda Fight Hunger Create Change programme, which will make a difference in their local community, as well as on a larger scale as we continue to help people out of poverty.”

Emma Revie, CEO of the Trussell Trust said:

“No one should face going hungry at any time of year. Work is already underway as part of the Fight Hunger Create Change partnership to help us campaign for change and work towards a future where no one needs a food bank.

“While we work in the long term to tackle the structural issues that lock people in poverty, food banks in our network need your help this summer. Your generous donations will make such a difference at a time when food banks see a squeeze on the stock levels of food they have to offer people. The food you donate will help make sure families referred this summer receive vital support at exactly the time when it’s most needed.”

The drive is part of Asda’s Fight Hunger Create Change programme, a three-year, £20m partnership between the supermarket, anti-poverty charity the Trussell Trust, and food redistribution charity FareShare. The partnership will enable FareShare to double their capacity, meaning more food can reach those in need, while supporting the Trussell Trust to provide even more support to people referred to food banks and work towards a future without food banks through better research into the drivers of poverty.

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Caught between a rock and a hard place: why advance payments are not the solution to the five week wait

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A blog post by
Abby Jitendra
Policy & Research Manager


Unaffordable DWP loans are not the answer to the five week wait

Would you be able to go five weeks without any money?

When you apply for Universal Credit, that’s the minimum amount of time you have to wait for your first payment.

We put out our year-end food bank figures last week showing that a record 1.6 million food parcels had been given out by our network last year, a 19% increase on the year before. Universal Credit now accounts for half of all referrals to food banks due to benefits delays, and waiting for Universal Credit is a growing trigger forcing people to food banks.

While you wait, you can apply for an ‘advance payment’ – that’s a loan from the Government to see you through that five week period. Once your Universal Credit payments start, you pay that loan back automatically through deductions from your monthly payments.


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Record 1.6m food bank parcels given to people in past year as the Trussell Trust calls for end to Universal Credit five week wait

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Number of food parcels given out across UK soars 73% in five years*

New data released today shows April 2018 to March 2019 to be the busiest year for food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network since the charity opened. During the past year, 1,583,668 three-day emergency food supplies were given to people in crisis in the UK; More than half a million of these (577,618) went to children. This is an 18.8% increase on the previous year.

The main reasons for people needing emergency food are benefits consistently not covering the cost of living (33%), and delays or changes to benefits being paid.**

Universal Credit is not the only benefit payment people referred to food banks have experienced problems with, but issues with moving onto the new system are a key driver of increasing need. Almost half (49%) of food bank referrals made due to a delay in benefits being paid in UK were linked to Universal Credit.***


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Stem the rising tide in food bank referrals – end the five week wait

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A blog post by
Ellie Thompson
Policy & Research Co-ordinator

The benefits system was designed to act as a safety net, providing support for any of us if we need it. But the Government’s new welfare reform, Universal Credit, pulls people into poverty, rather than helping them out of it.

In areas where Universal Credit has gone live for a year or more, food banks have seen a 52% average increase in food bank use compared to 13% in areas that have not. Increasingly we are seeing Universal Credit payment delays as a key driver of food bank referrals. Even Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, acknowledges that the delay in Universal Credit payments has led to a rise in referrals to food banks.


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The Trussell Trust responds to the Spring Statement

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Responding to today’s Spring Statement from the Chancellor, the Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie says,

“We’re disappointed by today’s Spring Statement, which does not end austerity as promised. The Chancellor has missed a real opportunity to do the right thing and give people on the lowest incomes financial support and certainty before Brexit.

“Our benefits system was created to make sure proper support would be in place for each other when help was most needed. But right now, more and more people across Britain are struggling to make ends meet, unable to afford food and facing hunger as a result. This isn’t right.

“We have seen a record demand in food bank use – our network gave out 1.3 million three-day parcels in the last year, a 13% increase in need. The key driver for this rise was incomes not covering the cost of essentials – and the majority of these incomes came through benefits.

“By failing to end the benefits freeze and five week wait for Universal Credit, thousands more people will become trapped in poverty and may be forced to a food bank as a result.

“The Government needs to put money back into the pockets of people who have lost the most to austerity. Ending poverty and hunger in the UK shouldn’t be sidelined – the time to act is now.”


Contact: The Trussell Trust press office on 020 3137 3699.


Notes to Editor:

The Trussell Trust’s #5WeeksTooLong campaign is calling for an end to the 5+ week wait for Universal Credit.

Information about Universal Credit and foodbank use is available here.


About The Trussell Trust:

  • The Trussell Trust is an anti-poverty charity that supports a network of more than 1,200 food bank centres across the UK.
  • In 2017-2018, 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people referred to food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network, a 13% increase on the previous year. Over a third of supplies (484,026) went to children.
  • It takes more than food to end hunger. The Trussell Trust therefore does three things: supports its network to provide emergency food to people referred; helps food banks to provide on-site additional help or signpost people to relevant local charities to resolve the cause of  referral; and brings together the experiences of hundreds of communities on the front line to challenge the structural issues that lock people in poverty, and campaign for long-term change so we can see a future without the need for food banks.
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