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Record 2.5 million food parcels distributed last year

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Record 2.5 million emergency food parcels given to people across UK with just under 1m going to children – that’s two parcels every minute.

The Trussell Trust is urgently calling on all levels of government across the UK to commit to developing a plan to end the need for food banks once and for all.

Today, the Trussell Trust reports that food banks in its UK network gave more than 2.5 million emergency food parcels to people facing crisis between April 2020 and March 2021. More than 980,000 of these went to children– that’s almost two parcels on average every minute. Food banks in its network experienced a 33% increase in need during the past extraordinarily difficult year – with a 36% rise in parcels given for children compared with 2019/20. 

The charity warns that with need for emergency food increasing year-on-year, today’s figures highlight an alarming 128% rise compared to this time five years ago.It is also the first time the number of food parcels distributed has topped two million. 

Worryingly, these figures are just the tip of the iceberg with unprecedented numbers of people being helped by other food aid providers and community-based groups that sprang up to provide emergency food during the pandemic.  

Hunger in the UK isn’t about food, the charity says, it’s about people not having enough money for the basics and with high rates of unemployment and record redundancies, more people than ever need the social security system to provide a strong enough lifeline to stay afloat.  

The Trussell Trust is now urgently calling on all levels of government to act. It’s urging candidates standing in the upcoming May elections across England, Scotland, and Wales to commit to working to end the need for food banks and developing a plan to do so, if elected. 

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said:  

No one should face the indignity of needing emergency foodYet our network of food banks has given out record numbers of food parcels as more and more people struggle without enough money for the essentials. This is not right but we know we can build a better future. This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit suddenly, but we know when we push for change, united by our desire for justice and compassion, the government has to listen and act.  

We are asking you, the public, to write to your local candidates standing for election on 6 May, asking them to commit to working to end the need for food banks if elected. Together we can take action now to build a hunger free future. 

Sabine Goodwin, coordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network, said: 

“Independent food banks are also continuing to see relentless need for help although combined Trussell Trust and independent food bank figures represent a fraction of the UK’s food insecurity picture. Now more than ever, our social security system needs to be reset, local authority support schemes involving crisis grants prioritised and adequate wages and secure work ensured.  

It’s the Government’s responsibility to stop hunger from happening in the first place so that everyone is able to afford to buy food and other essentials.” 

The Trussell Trust is asking the public to encourage candidates to make this pledge and stand for change here.  



Contact the Trussell Trust for more information on 020 3137 3699 or [email protected]     


Notes to editors   

Number of emergency food parcels distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust network in 2019/20 and 2020/21 

  1st April 2019 – 31st March 2020  1st April 2020 – 31st March 2021  Percentage change 
  To adults  To children  Total  To adults  To children  Total  To adults  To children  Total 
United Kingdom  1,183,672  722,953  1,906,625  1,557,116  980,082  2,537,198  32%  36%  33% 


  • In 2020/21 these parcels were distributed by 1,471 distribution centres operating in 295 local authorities across the UK 
  • The increases seen in the last year are on top of what were record levels of need in the previous year – with 1.9 million parcels distributed for the first time in 2019/20. 
  • Across 2020/21 food banks in the Trussell Trust network distributed, on average, almost two (1.86) parcels to children every minute.  
  • Across 2015/16 food banks in the Trussell Trust network distributed 1,112,395 emergency food parcels. In 2020/21 they distributed 2,537,198; a 128% increase on 2015/16.  
  • ‘Emergency food parcel’: this typically is a three-day parcel containing emergency food for one person. During the crisis food banks have also been distributing seven-day parcels. For this release the Trussell Trust have simply combined both three-day and seven-day parcels together to report the total number of emergency food parcels that were distributed. 
  • Need for emergency food is driven by a lack of income. The Trussell Trust’s State of Hunger research shows that 94% of people referred to food banks are destitute, meaning they don’t have enough income to buy the essentials that we all need. State of Hunger 
  • Figures from the Trussell Trust network cannot be used to fully explain the scale of food bank use across the UK. Research from the Independent Food Aid Network shows there are at least 1,034 independent food banks, with many other organisations also distributing emergency food during the pandemic. 
  • For November 2020 to January 2021 the unemployment rate for those aged 16+ was 5%, up from 3.9% in the previous year. Labour Market Overview 
  • Redundancies have reached record levels during the pandemic and increased by a historic 181,000 between Q2 2020 and Q3 2020, a 138% increaseLabour Market Overview 


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 1,300 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 here.
  • The Trussell Trust’s food bank network brings together volunteers, staff and supporters of all faiths and none to make a difference. Local churches play a vital part in this work, with around 12,000 churches actively involved in donating food, and providing venues, volunteers and financial support for food banks.    
  • You can read more about our work at    



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Budget 2021: our response

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer has set out the government’s spending plans in today’s Budget. The full details of these are available here.

In response, Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said:

“Today’s Budget has failed to give security to families on the lowest incomes by refusing to extend the Universal Credit uplift for the full, difficult year ahead. While it’s right the government extended the uplift by six months, this short-term fix does not address the serious hardship and uncertainty families will face when it is removed in September.

“We know removing the uplift could drive more than one million people to food banks and many more people are expected to need Universal Credit as unemployment rises.

“This isn’t right. We know this can change. We and our partners are urgently calling on the Chancellor to re-think and extend the uplift to 12 months at the very least, preventing people up and down the country from being swept into poverty in the wake of the pandemic.

“It’s time to build a better future together, taking action to create a stronger, more just society where everyone can afford the basics.”


For more information contact the Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or [email protected]

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The Trussell Trust responds to government’s winter package of support

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Responding to the news of the government’s winter package  announced today after Marcus Rashford’s campaigning, Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust said,

“Covid-19 has already led to tens of thousands of new people needing to use a food bank for the first time, so it’s encouraging to see the government build on steps already taken to help prevent more people being locked into poverty this winter. The extension in funding for local councils in England is particularly welcome. Our latest research shows local welfare support can be an effective way of preventing someone hit by an emergency from being plunged into a longer-term crisis.

“We know support from local authorities can make a real difference when someone is hit by the unexpected – but it must work in coordination with a national social security system strong enough to act as a lifeline to any of us struggling to afford the essentials. That’s why it’s crucial that alongside this package, the government commits to locking in the £20 weekly increase to Universal Credit, and makes sure that people currently excluded because their payments come through the old welfare system get this vital boost too.

“This year has shown the unexpected can hit us suddenly, with devastating consequences for people’s lives. But it’s also shown we can make huge changes to the way we live and look after each other. It’s shown that when we come together to push for change, united by our desire for justice and compassion, the government responds. It’s not right that anyone needs to use a food bank, at any time of year, but changes like this show that together, we can build a hunger free future.”

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Local lifelines – new research on local welfare schemes in England

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Earlier this week, the Prime Minister told us no child will go hungry this winter. Our new report today shows that extending local welfare would be a good place to start. 

Local Lifelines: investing in local welfare during and beyond Covid-19 shows the important role local welfare assistance schemes run by councils in England have played during Covid-19, and calls for an extension to the £63m funding announced in June, which the government expected to be spent within twelve weeks.

The report explains:

  • Local welfare assistance has played an important role in the response to the crisis, often making the difference between someone staying on their feet or falling into destitution, and it can be an effective way of preventing a financial emergency from escalating into a more sustained crisis.
  • While the £63m of funding for local authorities in England invested in June has provided a lifeline, central government was clear it expected councils to spend most of this money within 12 weeks. We spoke with local authorities who told us they are now facing a financial cliff edge, with further investment needed if they are to keep delivering support to those hardest hit by the crisis.
  • As we move into winter, with 670,000 more people forecast to be pushed into destitution, now is not the time to discontinue that welcome additional investment in local welfare.

Sustainable long-term funding is needed – it is unreasonable to expect such short-term funding to overcome entrenched issues such as the postcode lottery in provision, with regional spend in 2018/19 varying from £0.39 per head in the West Midlands to £1.32 per head in the North West. Only guaranteed, sustainable funding can give local authorities the security to plan ahead and build capacity.

We’re asking the government to:

  1. Extend the Emergency Assistance Grant until the end of the financial year 2020/21
  2. Reconvene the Food and Other Essential Supplies to the Vulnerable Ministerial Task Force until July 2021
  3. Invest £250m per year in local welfare assistance over the longer-term.

Food cannot be the answer to people needing a food bank – instead, we need to ensure everyone has enough money to afford essentials. While it’s essential that steps are taken to strengthen national social security, we also need to make sure local welfare acts as the lifeline we know it can be.

Read the full report here.

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Tesco announces nationwide Summer Food Collection to support food banks and local community groups

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Tesco is to hold an extra summer food collection to support the Trussell Trust and FareShare in response to an increased need for food in the wake of Covid-19.

From August 20 to 22 special donation points will be put up at every Tesco Superstore and Extra store, with customers being asked to donate essential items of long-life food. Tesco will top up all customer donations with an additional 20% donation in cash to the two charities.

The collection has been organised in direct response to the extra pressures placed on the food banks and community groups which FareShare and the Trussell Trust are supporting during the COVID-19 pandemic. FareShare has seen its highest ever demand for food from the thousands of local charities and community groups it supports, whilst the Trussell Trust has seen need at food banks in its network soar by more than 80%. (more…)

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Tesco’s vital support for food banks during Covid-19

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Back at the start of April, as the full effects of the pandemic were unfolding across the UK, more and more people were needing support from food banks.

In the previous two weeks, there had already been a 81% surge in need for emergency food parcels compared to March 2019 – and as April wore on, this increased need for help would continue, with double the number of families needing help compared to the same month in 2019.

We were working closely with food banks to ensure people who couldn’t afford essentials were able to get an emergency parcel – but food banks could only continue to provide that vital lifeline if there was enough food for parcels.

It made such a difference that at the start of April Tesco pledged to support food banks in our network, independent food banks and food redistribution charity FareShare, with £15 million worth of food to ensure support could be there for people. The £500,000 of funding and support with Bags for Life also came at exactly the right time to help us support food banks during this challenging time.

During the past 12 weeks, these donations have been critical for food banks across the country, ensuring emergency support was there for anyone unable to afford food.

Tesco’s support made all the difference during the crisis – as Jon from Brixton Foodbank explains:

We don’t think this support should have been needed. Everyone should be able to afford their own food and we’re stepping up our work to end the need for food banks.

But while we do that longer-term work, we need to make sure help is available for people in crisis right now.

We are so grateful for Tesco’s support during the past 12 weeks – it was absolutely critical to making sure food banks were able to be there for people as the impact of Covid-19 first unfolded.

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Passenger donates proceeds from new album to support food banks during the coronavirus crisis

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Singer-songwriter and musician Passenger is supporting the Trussell Trust, a charity that works with a network of more than 1,200 food bank centres across the UK, by donating proceeds from his new album Patchwork to help people struggling due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Food banks have seen a huge surge in need for emergency support during the coronavirus outbreak. The Trussell Trust reports a soaring 89% increase in need for emergency food parcels during April 2020 compared to the same month last year, including a 107% rise in parcels given to children. The number of families with children receiving parcels has almost doubled compared to the same period last year.

Wherever possible, food banks are continuing to provide emergency support to people in their community in the safest way possible. Many 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.

Passenger’s donation will help the Trussell Trust support food banks to continue providing emergency help safely during the crisis, while campaigning for long-term change to the drivers of need for food banks and working towards a future where everyone in the UK has enough money for essentials.

Michael said,

“Patchwork is a collection of songs that I wrote during lockdown (with the exception of the beautiful “someone you loved” by Lewis Capaldi.) It was such a strange and challenging time for me as I’m sure it was for everybody. I was living alone and as a result found myself in a very honest and vulnerable spot which is always a good place to be for writing songs from.

“I had no plan to record them as a stand-alone album but as the weeks went on and the songs kept coming it felt like a really nice thing to be able to do. All of the proceeds from the album will be donated to the Trussell Trust, which is a UK based organisation dedicated to providing food for the people who don’t have enough money for essentials, and working towards a time when such a service might not be needed.”

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust said,

“We’re really grateful to Passenger for his support. Food banks have seen a huge surge in need as the impact of coronavirus hits people’s incomes – more and more people are struggling to cover the cost of essentials. But it doesn’t have to be like this. This can change. As a country, we can make changes which would protect people from being swept into poverty. This donation from Passenger will help us continue supporting food banks to get emergency help to people safely, while we work towards a future where everyone has enough money for essentials. Thank you so much.”

Patchwork is available from 10th July in digital format globally from all recognised retailers and from the artist website at

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Organisations unite to get food to people most in need

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  • More people than ever are expected to use a food bank over the next few months 
  • Many food banks across the UK have reported they are running low on essential food supplies 
  • Local charities and community groups across the UK are also in need of vital food supplies
  • Sainsbury’s, British Gas, The Entertainer, Palletforce and XPO Logistics are working together alongside charities, the Trussell Trust and FareShare, to form part of a national solution to distribute food so food banks can continue to support people most in need 
  • The major organisations are working together to ensure this food reaches food banks and community charities as quickly and safely as possible  

Sainsbury’s, The Entertainer, Palletforce, XPO Logistics and British Gas have joined forces to help distribute food to people who need it most. The unprecedented partnership will ensure the Trussell Trust and FareShare can continue to help support people struggling in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Each organisation1 is playing a vital role in distributing donated food from supermarkets, wholesalers and other food companies to food banks and community charities across the UK.

This innovative partnership comes as the Trussell Trust warns that more people are likely to need a food bank’s help as a result of the outbreak. Food charity FareShare has also seen a steep rise in applications from charities and community groups across the UK who are in need of vital food supplies.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust said:

“This unique partnership beautifully articulates how society is pulling together in the fight against Covid-19. All these organisations have innovatively adapted their services to support the people most in need during this challenging time, and we are truly grateful that they are helping food banks to continue to provide their essential community service. But ultimately, no one should need to use a food bank. We want to ensure that this community spirit, of supporting one another during difficult times, continues long after this pandemic, so we can create a society where everyone can buy their own food.”

Judith Batchelar, Director of Sainsbury’s Brand said: “Coronavirus has impacted everyone in the UK and it’s important that we support each other now, more than ever. We are committed to supporting our colleagues, customers and our local communities during this crisis. In addition to helping FareShare redistribute food, we are still operating our food donation points in 92% of our stores which support 2,250 food donation partnerships, ensuring food continues to go to people who need it most.”

Lindsay Boswell, CEO at FareShare, said: “This partnership is a testament to the incredible things we can achieve when businesses and the voluntary sector works together with a common purpose. It will enable FareShare to dramatically scale up the amount of food we can distribute right across the UK, enabling us to get more food out to the thousands of charities and community groups, fellow food redistribution organisations, food banks and pantries. It is these groups who, under the most extraordinary circumstances, are doing everything they can to safely deliver food onto the doorsteps of those who are most at risk.”

Matthew Bateman, Managing Director of Field Operations at British Gas, said: “This partnership is a great example of people and businesses coming together to help people who need it most. There are still so many of our people that want to do more to help people 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.”

Gavin Williams, managing director, supply chain – UK & Ireland, XPO Logistics, said: “This is a fantastic initiative, a collaboration that really does have a significant positive impact on the groups of people most affected by the pandemic. Our part in the food journey is in creating mixed parcels, palletising and consolidating them, before they reach the food banks. We are proud to be playing a role in expanding and speeding up the supply of essential goods to the front-line doorstep delivery.”

Michael Conroy, CEO at Palletforce said: “Palletforce has helped deliver surplus food for FareShare for a number of years now and we’re privileged to play our part in distributing these food donations. Our members are out there ensuring supply chains keep moving, guaranteeing food and other essential supplies make their way to retailers. We’re pleased that they can assist in distributing critical supplies to food banks supported by FareShare and the Trussell Trust.”

Gary Grant, Founder and Executive Chairman of The Entertainer: “We’re extremely proud to have joined together with other retailers and businesses to support people in need within our communities during this challenging time. It’s both humbling and inspiring to see the outpouring of support for each other across the country and the coming together of retailers and businesses to provide help and support is something we’re delighted we can be part of. We hope the food will bring comfort to people who receive it in these difficult times.”



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

Notes to Editor

1How the partnership will work: 

  1. Sainsbury’s has donated £3 million to FareShareto help distribute food to vulnerable people via partner charities
  2. Supermarkets wholesalers and other food companies identify food available within their supply chain and regional depots that food banks are most in need of
  3. Palletforce* provide trailers to transport food from depots to The Entertainer’s Banbury deport**
  4. XPO Logistics* volunteers will help sort the food for each food bank or community charity and then take them to Palletforcecentral depot in Burton upon Trent
  5. Palletforcewill then ship the food to regional members’ depots in 20 locations around the country (except in NI, where they will deliver directly to food banks)
  6. Once at the regional Palletforcedepots, British Gas volunteers will then deliver the food donations to local food banks in the Trussell Trust network and FareShare’s community charities
  7. Food bank and community charity volunteers will then weigh, sort and prepare this food into emergency food parcels and distribute to people unable to afford food in their local community

*Palletforce and XPO Logistics are donating most of their time and services. The rest of their support is covered by a grant from Sainsbury’s

**Gary Grant, founder of The Entertainer (the fastest-growing, family-owned high street toy retailer in the UK), has donated their depot in Banbury to store the ambient food


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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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