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Scottish foodbank research reveals welfare safety net ‘failing to maintain basic living standards’

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Access the full report: Non-food provision in The Trussell Trust Network in Scotland

  • Foodbanks are seeing and responding to ‘significant need’ for both food and non-food items across Scotland
  • Amongst the basic necessities, people referred to Scottish foodbanks needed, toilet roll, shampoo and soap are the most frequently requested
  • Feminine hygiene products are provided ten times more often in response to a volunteer’s question than an individual’s request, which could be due to the stigma surrounding ‘period poverty’

The Trussell Trust has called for urgent action on low incomes and destitution, as a new report reveals thousands of households in Scotland are forced to use foodbanks for non-food essentials.

The first survey into the non-food items distributed by Trussell Trust foodbanks in Scotland reveals that 90% provide nappies; feminine hygiene products; soap and shower gel; toothbrushes and toothpaste; shampoo and conditioner; toilet roll and deodorant on top of their standard emergency food parcel. 71% are able to go further and offer additional items such as pet food, cleaning products, washing powder, shaving foam and razors.

Laura Ferguson, Area Manager for Scotland, The Trussell Trust said today:

“It is shameful that so many people in Scotland must suffer the indignity of not having enough money to afford the absolute basics. Not just food, but soap, toothpaste and even feminine hygiene products.

“We know that the majority of people referred to foodbanks in our network are supported by working-age benefits, and time and again our data shows the main reasons people are referred to us are problems, cuts and changes to these benefits.

“Our generous donors and the volunteers and staff in foodbanks will strive to be there for people who would otherwise face going hungry. But we feel strongly that it should not be left to any charity to pick up the pieces of a welfare safety net that is failing to maintain basic living standards for all who need it.”

 

Between April 2016 and March 2017, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network in Scotland provided 145,865 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis. 47,955 of these went to children. Trussell Trust data reveals that issues with a benefit payment remain the biggest cause of referral to a foodbank across Scotland, accounting for 42 per cent of all referrals (23.49 per cent benefit delay; 18.41 per cent benefit change).

East Lothian Foodbank highlighted the problem:

“Once we had a referral for delivery to a family with four children, three with ages between 11 and 15. Sanitary products were requested and we asked how many of the children were girls – the reply was all of them… that’s a fair cost, three girls and mum all requiring hygiene products could be in the region of £15-£20 per month, every month and if on low income budget can be quite restrictive.”

 

The report warns that it is likely to underrepresent the true scale of the issue as it is difficult to measure the underlying need for feminine hygiene products based on the number of requests, as the stigma surrounding menstruation may present a barrier to individuals asking for help. In fact, data reveals that feminine hygiene products are provided nearly ten times more often in response to a volunteer’s question, rather than an individual’s request. Volunteers, therefore, use various methods to protect people’s dignity, such as discreetly asking if items are needed, providing them in every parcel for households with females, or placing them in ‘choosing boxes’ alongside other toiletries.

Stocks of emergency food, feminine hygiene products and other non-food items all vary between foodbanks, with a project’s ability to supplement nutritionally-balanced emergency food parcels with feminine hygiene products and other toiletries dependent on their local context. Foodbanks rely on donations from their local community in order to provide vital emergency help, and The Trussell Trust encourages anyone interested in donating food or additional items to check with their local foodbank as to which items are most needed.

 

ENDS

Notes to the editor

The Trussell Trust:

  • Between April 2016 and March 2017, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network in Scotland provided 145,865 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis. 47,955 of these went to children.
  • Trussell Trust foodbanks provide a three day supply of nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis in the UK. We also signpost people to other agencies and services able to help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis. As part of the charity’s More Than Food approach, many foodbanks also host additional services like debt/money advice, cooking and budgeting courses and holiday clubs.
  • Everyone who comes to a Trussell Trust foodbank is referred by a statutory or voluntary service professional such as a welfare rights advisor, social worker or health visitor. Over 4,700 agencies refer people to Trussell Trust foodbanks in Scotland, and 59 percent of these are statutory agencies.
  • There are 52 Trussell Trust foodbanks, and many of these run multiple centres so they can best reach local people in crisis – 118 centres in total are based across 28 of Scotland’s local authorities.
  • Over 90 percent of food given out by Trussell Trust foodbanks is donated by the public. In 2016/17, 1,270.5 tonnes of food were given out to people in crisis in Scotland.
  • The Trussell Trust is a charity motivated by Christian principles that runs the biggest network of foodbanks in the UK. For more on The Trussell Trust, please visit: trusselltrust.org

Trussell Trust figures cannot be used to fully explain the scale of the food poverty across the UK, because our figures only relate to Trussell Trust foodbanks and not to the hundreds of other independent food aid providers. Research from The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) suggests The Trussell Trust network accounts for two-thirds of all foodbanks across the UK.

 

‘Non-Food Provision’ Report

This report is based on responses to a survey carried out with foodbanks within The Trussell Trust network in Scotland. 50 responses were received, covering 48 out of the 52 currently operating Scottish foodbanks (92%). There was feedback from all 28 local authorities in which The Trussell Trust has a presence, which provides a good indication of practice across the country.

A full version of the report can be accessed here: Non-food provision in The Trussell Trust Network in Scotland.

 

For Scotland-based media enquiries regarding The Trussell Trust, please contact

Scotland Network Assistant Lyndsay Cochrane:

Mobile: 07468 560 710 / Office: 01382 250063 / E-Mail: scottish.assistant@trusselltrust.org

For UK-based media enquiries regarding the Trussell Trust, please contact

Telephone: 020 3745 5982 / E-Mail: press@trusselltrust.org

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Foodbanks expecting busiest Christmas ever against backdrop of growing need

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  • Newly released figures reveal 47% increase in number of three-day emergency supplies provided by Trussell Trust foodbanks last December compared to the monthly average for 2016/17 financial year
  • Generous donations in December 2016 meant foodbanks met demand, but new data shows that there is still significant need in the following months when donations drop
  • Foodbanks are doing even more to help people in crisis but charity is calling on people to support their local foodbank in December and into the New Year to make sure need is met

The Trussell Trust is calling on the public to help people facing hunger during what is expected to be their foodbank network’s busiest Christmas to date. New data released today reveals that during December 2016, The Trussell Trust’s network provided 146,798 three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis; 61,093 of these went to children.

This a 47% increase on the monthly average of three-day emergency supplies provided in the 2016/17 financial year, which was 99,995. This means December 2016 was the busiest month for Trussell Trust foodbanks on record, but recent statistics showing a 13% in foodbank use during the first six months of this financial year suggest December 2017 will be even busier.

New data also shows that while December sees record demand, the need for foodbanks is growing and remains high through the start of the New Year into spring, when donations fall.*

Dec 2016

Figure 1 Three-day emergency food supplies given out monthly for financial year 2016/17 (April 2016 – March 2017), with line of best fit showing that demand is growing and remains high in the months following Christmas

Generous donations from the public in December 2016 meant foodbanks met the increased need in that month, but donations in January, February and March 2017 all fell below the monthly average of 931 tonnes for the 2016-17 financial year.**

This year, foodbanks are doing even more to make sure people aren’t left hungry at Christmas. Many foodbanks will be distributing presents to make sure children have presents under the tree, whilst others will be providing special Christmas food boxes with festive food or fresh turkeys. More foodbanks than ever will be running holiday clubs and community meals for families to make sure they have a hot meal and company over the Christmas break.

Mark Ward, Interim Chief Executive said today,

For many, this Christmas will not be a time for celebration. Every year we see a spike in demand at Christmas but this year foodbanks are expecting their busiest Christmas ever. At Christmas foodbanks will be working hard to provide not only those regular essentials, like pasta and cereal, but also little extras that offer hope at a time when people need it most. The stories are as inspiring as they are heart-breaking – one mum told us that she was relieved as her daughter’s first Christmas was taken care of with help from the foodbank.

“Last December, the public’s generosity meant foodbanks could help thousands of people across the country. But when the festive season is over there will still be people in our communities unable to afford food. Foodbanks rely on donations, which is why we’re asking the public to show that same generosity again, not only this December but in the months that follow Christmas too.”

The Trussell Trust has launched its Christmas campaign to help raise funds to support its network of foodbanks. The Trust relies on voluntary donations to help foodbanks carry out they amazing and essential work, as well as developing and implementing projects designed to tackle the underlying causes of poverty. You can donate to the campaign here.

To find information on what items of stock are most needed at individual foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network, find their website via https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/ and click on the links to “Give help”/”Donate food”.

ENDS

Notes

*All data representing three-day emergency food supplies is a measure of volume and not unique users. As we work with a live data system, numbers will increase with time as foodbanks input more data into the system. The numbers below are accurate as of 22/11/17.

April 2016 67,262 October 2016 91,007
May 2016 96,939 November 2016 102,976
June 2016 84,625 December 2016 146,798
July 2016 86,106 January 2017 103,278
August 2016 95,640 February 2017 102,045
September 2016 105,048 March 2017 118,211

 

**Donations to The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network, in tonnes, month-to-month during the last financial year:

November 2016 911 tonnes
December 2016 2,178 tonnes
January 2017 860 tonnes
February 2017 650 tonnes
March 2017 768 tonnes

 

The Trussell Trust:

  • Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy or bereavement to welfare problems or receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. The Trussell Trust’s network of over 420 foodbanks provides three days’ emergency food and support to people in crisis across the UK.
  • From April 2016 to March 2017, Trussell Trust foodbanks provided 1,182,954 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis. Of those helped, 436,938 were for children. Trussell Trust statistics are collected using an online data collection system into which foodbanks enter the data from each foodbank voucher. The system records numbers given three-day emergency food supplies. The Trussell Trust is measuring volume – the number of people to whom it has given three days’ food supply (containing enough food for 10 meals), but these are not necessarily unique people. Find out more at https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/ .
  • Everyone who comes to a Trussell Trust foodbank is referred by a frontline professional agency like Citizens Advice, housing associations and children’s centres.
  • Trussell Trust foodbanks do much more than food: they provide a listening ear and help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis either through signposting onto relevant local charities or providing on-site immediate support, such as holiday clubs or budgeting and cookery courses.
  • Find out more at trusselltrust.org

 

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Foodbank demand soars across the UK

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  • 586,907 three day emergency food supplies given to people in crisis in first half of this year, a 13% increase on the same period last year – 208,956 to children
  • Foodbanks in areas of full Universal Credit rollout for six months or more have seen a 30% average increase six months after rollout compared to a year before
  • Foodbanks report serious effects of six-plus week waiting period, poor administration and inability of current advance payment system to support everyone on no income
  • The Trussell Trust unveils five point plan for decision-makers and calls on public for donations to stop people going hungry this Christmas

Between 1st April and 30th September 2017, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network distributed 586,907 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis compared to 519,342 during the same period last year, 208,956 of these went to children. This is a measure of volume rather than unique users, and on average people needed around two foodbank referrals in the last year.* [see notes to editor] The figure, distributed before full Universal Credit rollout accelerated in October 2017, means the foodbank network is already on course to distribute a new record number of food parcels in 2017-18.

The charity is concerned the situation will worsen in the months leading to Christmas when demand for food traditionally spikes, and when the number of foodbanks in areas of full Universal Credit service will triple. New analysis of Trussell Trust foodbanks in areas of full Universal Credit rollout shows that foodbanks in areas of full rollout for six months or more have seen a 30% average increase six months after rollout compared to a year before. Comparative analysis of foodbanks not in full Universal Credit rollout areas showed an average increase of 12%.**

Trussell Trust data reveals that issues with a benefit payment remain the biggest cause of referral to a foodbank across the UK, accounting for 43 percent of all referrals (25 percent benefit delay; 18 percent benefit change). New analysis of foodbank data*** also shows that:

  • Of people referred due to a benefit delay, 45% of referrals made due to a wait for a first payment were related to Universal Credit and 36% of referrals made because a new claim had not yet been awarded were related to Universal Credit.
  • Of people referred due to a benefit change, 38% of referrals made due to a change to a different benefit were related to Universal Credit.

Low income, which refers to anyone in work or on benefits struggling to get by on their income, accounts for 27 percent of referrals – suggesting certain pay and benefit levels are not protecting people from falling into crisis.

MOY2017-primary-referral-causes-twitter

Foodbanks are responding to the impact of Universal Credit in a variety of ways but many are reporting extra pressure on food donation stocks, and several have highlighted concerns about volunteers’ time and emotional welfare. Foodbank managers across the UK identify three main obstacles to meeting future need: longer term issues requiring higher than average number of foodbank referrals; overwhelming numbers of people needing help; and food donations not meeting need.

To help prevent people facing hunger at Christmas, The Trussell Trust is asking policy-makers to urgently take action on:

  1. Six-week wait: As a matter of urgency, the 6 week wait for the first payment must be cut to make sure people aren’t left without money and in need of a foodbank. To start with, the two waiting periods, a week at the start of a claim and a week after a month’s assessment period, should be reduced.
  2. Advance loan repayment: there must be better availability of advance loans which are affordable to repay and do not throw people back into crisis. A three month grace period before starting repayments should be made available, as well as information about paying back smaller proportions of an advance loan so people can agree an appropriate repayment plan.
  3. Poor administration: 1/5 of people are waiting for longer than 6 weeks***; documents are being lost; people are being overpaid or underpaid; and finding themselves in debt or rent arrears. These issues should be assessed and tackled across rollout areas.
  4. Transition between legacy benefits and Universal Credit: when someone moves onto Universal Credit, any benefit previously paid automatically stops. All benefit payments should run on until Universal Credit payments start, with a focus on Housing Benefit.
  5. Benefit level freeze: although Universal Credit rollout is a key concern, foodbank referral data and University of Oxford research suggest benefit levels more widely are not preventing people from reaching crisis point. Ahead of the Budget, the Government should reassess its current four-year freeze on benefit levels.

Mark Ward, Interim Chief Executive at The Trussell Trust, said:

“We’re seeing soaring demand at foodbanks across the UK. Our network is working hard to stop people going hungry but the simple truth is that even with the enormous generosity of our donors and volunteers, we’re concerned foodbanks could struggle to meet demand this winter if critical changes to benefit delivery aren’t made now. People cannot be left for weeks without any income, and when that income does come, it must keep pace with living costs – foodbanks cannot be relied upon to pick up the pieces.

“Our five point plan isn’t going to fix everything – but these emergency measures would help mitigate some of the damage we’re worried will otherwise take place. Without urgent action from policy-makers and even more generous practical support from the public, we don’t know how foodbanks are going to stop families and children going hungry this Christmas.”

The Trussell Trust is therefore calling for help from the public to make sure people in crisis get the support needed. To find information on what items of stock are most needed at individual foodbanks, find their website via https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/ and click on the links to “Give help”/”Donate food”.

MOY2017-Regional Breakdown Map

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

Contact:

Please contact The Trussell Trust media team on 020 3137 3699 / press@trusselltrust.org. Out of hours call 07789 642 727.

The Trussell Trust:

  • The Trussell Trust is an anti-poverty charity that runs a network of 428 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 40,000 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 April to September 2017, 4,709 tonnes of food were donated.
  • The Trussell Trust is a charity motivated by Christian principles. For more on The Trussell Trust visit trusselltrust.org

Trussell Trust foodbank statistics:

**New analysis of Trussell Trust foodbanks in areas of full Universal Credit rollout shows that foodbanks in areas of full rollout for six months or more have seen a 30% average increase six months after rollout compared to a year before. This has been calculated by summing individual foodbank data for the six months before and after Universal Credit full service went ‘live’ in their area, and calculating the percentage increase between the start and end points of the ‘best fit’ trend line.

Comparative analysis of 260 other foodbanks that are not in full Universal Credit rollout areas over the showed an average increase of 12%.  This has been calculated by assigning each foodbank a ‘go live’ month at random, and, for those foodbanks with more than 6 months since their an assigned “go live” date, summing individual data for the six months before and after that ‘go live’ month, and calculating the percentage increase between the start and end points of the ‘best fit’ trend line.

*Trussell Trust statistics are collected using an online data collection system into which foodbanks enter the data from each foodbank voucher. The system records numbers given three day emergency food supplies. The Trussell Trust is measuring volume – the number of people to whom it has given three days’ food supply (containing enough food for 10 meals). The Trussell Trust has consistently measured figures in this way and reports them at the middle and end of each financial year. Trussell Trust figures clearly state that we are counting the number of people to whom three days’ food has been given, but these are not necessarily unique people. Our data system can calculate the average visit frequency within a time period and shows people visited on average around two times in the 12 months to September 2017, leading us to estimate that approximately 293,451 people are likely to have been unique users in April – September of this year.

  • Trussell Trust data collection seeks to comply with ONS guidance. The Trussell Trust receives technical advice from a former senior government statistician, and has consulted with a range of statisticians ahead of publication.
  • ‘Benefit delays’ refer to people not receiving benefits to which they are entitled on time, this category can also include problems with processing new claims, or any other time-lags in people receiving their welfare payments.
  • ‘Benefit changes’ refers to the problems resulting from a change in people’s welfare payments, for example, people having their benefits stopped whilst they are reassessed. This can also include a sanction.
  • ‘Low income’ refers to anyone who is struggling to get by on a low income. This could be people in work, or people on benefits, for whom a small crisis e.g. boiler breaking down or having to buy school uniform etc, can be enough to mean that they cannot afford food.

*** The Trussell Trust’s data collection system now allows for referral agencies to provide further information on why someone has been referred. 17% of vouchers between April and September 2017 included this secondary level of information on the reason for foodbank referral:

Referral reason – primary reason and secondary data Related to Universal Credit Related to Job Seekers Allowance Related to Employment Support Allowance Additional benefit types
Benefit change: sanction 27% 29% 31%
Benefit change: change to a different benefit 38% 19% 25%
Benefit change: reduction of benefit value 17% 10% 31%

12% child tax credits

10% Personal Independence Payments

Benefit delay: new claim not yet awarded 36% 23% 25%
Benefit delay: awaiting new payment 45% 20% 22%
Benefit delay: interrupted payments 18% 17% 40%

Trussell Trust figures cannot be used to fully explain the scale of the food poverty across the UK, because our figures only relate to Trussell Trust foodbanks and not to the hundreds of other independent food aid providers. Mapping by The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) suggests that Trussell Trust foodbank centres account for roughly two-thirds of all emergency food aid provision in the UK: you can read more about this here.

*** Statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/universal-credit-payments-and-labour-market-reports-published

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Volunteers across the UK giving ‘at least £30 million’ a year in unpaid work to support foodbanks

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  • First joint study of Trussell Trust and independent foodbanks finds volunteers contribute more than 4 million hours in support to UK foodbanks every year.
  • Ground-breaking research also reveals the monetary value of volunteering in foodbanks.
  • As Universal Credit rolls out, dramatically increasing the number of people needing emergency food aid, foodbank providers say that voluntary organisations cannot replace the welfare state – the government must step up and take responsibility.

The Trussell Trust, which operates the largest network of foodbanks in the UK, and the Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN), which advocates on behalf of independent foodbanks and emergency food aid projects, have today released a crucial evaluation of the vital work foodbank volunteers do in their communities. This follows work by IFAN to count the true number of foodbanks in the UK, which has now found that more than 700 independent foodbank centres, beyond The Trussell Trust’s 1235, are providing emergency food and support to people in crisis.

The research, the first of its kind, has found that volunteers do a staggering 2,909,196 hours of unpaid work each year distributing food. Calculating the value of such work using the National Living Wage, currently set at £7.50 an hour for the over 25s, this equates to £21,818,967 a year; or 55,945 hours, with a value of £419,587, each week.

The study also found volunteers are doing a further 1,208,602 hours of additional tasks per year, including stock-taking, fundraising, picking up and delivering food, inputting data, and other work, worth £9,064,516 alone.

Taken together, the 4,117,798 hours of volunteer work each year contributes at least £30,883,482 to the effort to tackle Britain’s hunger crisis.

Samantha Stapley, Head of Operations, for The Trussell Trust, said today:

It’s astonishing to see a value put to the amazing and tireless work done by foodbank volunteers up and down the UK. It’s a testament to the power and generosity of communities. Without them, foodbanks in The Trussell Trust network would not have been able to give nearly 1.2 million emergency food supplies to people in crisis last year. And without this vital community support hundreds of thousands of people would be hungry, and with nowhere to turn.

‘But it is equally important to remember that whilst foodbank volunteers do inspiring work, they cannot replace the welfare safety net. Issues with benefit payments remain the main reason why people need a foodbank parcel, and with issues caused by Universal Credit increasingly reported by foodbanks as a concern, we urge the Government to take steps to make sure people don’t face going hungry in the UK today.’

 

Professor Jon May, Chair of the Independent Food Aid Network’s Board of Trustees, said today:

IFAN supports the efforts of the thousands of foodbanks, and tens of thousands of volunteers, working so hard to help feed their communities. But we call on Government to stop relying on foodbanks, and to accept its responsibilities for Britain’s hunger crisis. As citizens we enter into a contract. In exchange for our financial contributions, Government is required to ensure sufficient support is available to all, so that no one needs to rely on charity to feed themselves or their families.

‘That contract has been broken. Even as Government plan £12billion in cuts to social security benefits by 2019/20[i], some of our largest companies continue to avoid paying their fair share in tax. We now know that, though we already pay £11 billion a year to subsidise a low-wage economy[ii]because employers are not paying people enough to live on, volunteers up and down the country are providing a further £30million a year in ’free’ labour to ensure that our fellow citizens in low paid work, on zero hour contracts, or relying on a broken benefits system have enough to eat. Whilst we must continue to support those in need, we must also – and urgently – advocate for fundamental change.

ENDS

 

For more information, please contact Abby Jitendra at The Trussell Trust, on  abby.jitendra@trusselltrust.org, 020 3745 5981, or Sabine Goodwin at IFAN, at sabinegoodwin@gmail.com.

 

Notes

The research was devised and carried out collaboratively between researchers at The Trussell Trust and IFAN, with counsel from academics at Queen Mary University of London. A randomised sample of 300 Trussell Trust and independent foodbank centres was created and weighted according to the total number of Trussell Trust and independent foodbank centres, to create a representative sample for survey. Sample centres were asked 3 short questions about: the average number of volunteers per session; their hours of distribution, including set-up and packing-away time; and any additional volunteer hours spent doing ‘behind the scenes’ work (liaising with donors, picking up and sorting food, delivering food parcels, fund raising, and paperwork). The monetary value of this volunteer work was calculated by multiplying the number of volunteer hours by the National Living Wage.

Independent Food Aid Network:

  • The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) is a network of independent, grassroots emergency food aid providers including foodbanks and a range other food aid projects; for example, community kitchens, drop-in meal programmes, pay as you feel cafes, social supermarkets, and holiday hunger programmes.
  • IFAN has identified more than 700 independent foodbanks operating across the UK.
  • Independent foodbanks operate in a range of ways, with some working with a referral and some with ‘open access’ systems; some offering pre-packaged food parcels, and others a choice of food. The number of times a person may use an independent foodbank also varies. Many independent foodbanks offer other services, and volunteers frequently ‘sign post’ clients to other organisations who can help. Some independent foodbanks also run food delivery schemes.
  • IFAN exists to provide a voice for independent food aid organisations. It has no faith based or political affiliations.
  • IFAN recognises that food poverty is the result of a complex set of structural issues that require Government action.
  • More information about IFAN can be found at foodaidnetwork.org.uk

The Trussell Trust:

  • The Trussell Trust is an anti-poverty charity that runs a network of 1235 foodbank centres across the UK.
  • Trussell Trust foodbanks provide three days’-worth of 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.
  • For more on The Trussell Trust visit trusselltrust.org

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David McAuley stepping down as Trussell Trust Chief Executive & moving onto new challenges

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National anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust, which co-ordinates the largest network of foodbanks in the UK, has announced today that David McAuley will be stepping down as Chief Executive. He will be moving onto the charity OPENhouse, a charity which helps young people and vulnerable people discover their potential.

David McAuley joined The Trussell Trust in August 2008, and took up the role of Chief Executive in January 2014. He has overseen the creation of the More Than Food program, which has included schemes to offer fuel vouchers to people referred to foodbanks, cooking and budgeting courses, and holiday clubs.

The Trussell Trust is actively seeking a new Chief Executive, but in the meantime the charity will be functioning as normal.

 

David McAuley said today:

“When I joined The Trussell Trust we had 13 foodbanks open, one house of opportunity in Bulgaria, a very small charity shop and social enterprise, and a dream to help as many people as we could. Together with the dedication of over 40,000 volunteers in communities across the UK, over the past nine years we have turned that dream into a reality.

 

“It has been an incredible journey and a privilege to be CEO of The Trussell Trust for three years, but I believe the time is right to move on to a new challenge.  Leading a charity which harnesses the power and generosity of volunteers has been inspiring, as has working with a team of committed and hard-working people. I am energised and looking forward to taking my skills to a new cause.”

 

Liz Pollard, Chairman of Trustees, said today:

“The last few years have seen the need for foodbanks continue to grow, with our Foodbank Network providing record numbers of emergency food supplies in the last financial year. David’s leadership of The Trussell Trust has been defined by his wish to find innovative solutions to the grave problem of hunger in the UK. It’s David’s vision and enthusiasm that has pioneered the charity’s new More Than Food programme, to build resilience and make sure people don’t need a foodbank parcel in the first place. It’s an incredible achievement and we wish him all the best as he moves onto a new opportunity.”

ENDS

For more information contact Garry Lemon, Head of Media & External Affairs on 020 3137 6699.

Notes

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 about The Trussell Trust visit trusselltrust.org

 

 

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Half of children helped by foodbanks over summer holiday months are primary school students

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67,506 three day emergency food supplies were provided for children by The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network in July and August 2016 compared to 63,094 in May and June 2016. Between July and August 2016, of all 67, 506 three day emergency food supplies from The Trussell Trust foodbank network that went to children:

 

  • 27% went to 0-4 year olds
  • 47% went to 5-11 year olds
  • 21% went to 12-16 year olds
  • 5% went to children for whom their age was not known

 

This summer Trussell Trust foodbanks across the UK will be working to offer extra help to families struggling this summer. At least 60 foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network will be providing additional services to families struggling during the holiday, and 24 of these will run a Trussell Trust Holiday Club. The Holiday Clubs project, supported by the Innocent Foundation, has been designed for both children and parents to provide families with fun learning activities and a hot nutritious meal. Trained volunteers talk with parents to understand why they are struggling this summer and signpost families onto relevant local services or organisations to provide further support. Each club with capacity to do so will offer parents a ‘benefits health check’ using the Turn2us Benefits Calculator.**

 

The new age insights from The Trussell Trust’s data collection system also reveal the percentage of primary school children helped by foodbanks is consistently high all-year round (46% of all children referred between April 2016 and March 2017 were between 5-11), highlighting the need for support throughout the year, not only in the holidays. Foodbanks will continue to work all-year round to establish strong working relationships with local agencies to ensure families in need can be referred to the foodbank for emergency food and support.

 

Samantha Stapley, Operations Manager for England at The Trussell Trust, said:

 

“Over a third of all the food distributed by foodbanks in our network consistently goes to children, but these new figures show 5 to 11 year-olds are more likely than other children to receive a foodbank’s help. This highlights just how close to crisis many families are living. We can all make a difference – checking which food your local foodbank is running low on and donating to make sure emergency food is available when people are referred to help is a simple and effective way to get involved. You could be helping a family that lives on your street.

 

“As a nation we also must address the reasons why families with children are referred to foodbanks in the first place. We welcome the Government’s decision to maintain free school lunches for children during term time – the next step must be to help families during the holidays. Foodbanks are doing more than ever before but voluntary organisations alone cannot stop primary school children facing hunger. We are keen to share our insights with the new Government alongside other charities to inform a long-term coordinated solution to stop families falling into crisis.”

 

The Rt. Rev the Lord Bishop of Truro Tim Thornton, said:

 

 “It is shocking to read the statistics and the breakdown provided by The Trussell Trust.  That so many primary age children are going without food in our country is of great concern.  It is good that so many voluntary organisations, the vast majority of which are based on churches are working to provide help for families during the summer holidays.  It is very good that the community wants to help and work with those less fortunate and that is a key part of the gospel values.  It is however also important that we keep trying to understand the deeper reasons why this situation is as it is.”

The new figures come as The Trussell Trust launches its national Summer Appeal and encourages people to donate to their local foodbank as the school holidays start. Everyone can help make a difference – a donation to The Trussell Trust’s Summer Appeal will help develop projects like Holiday Clubs, which help foodbanks provide additional support to people and prevent them needing a foodbank in the future, and a food donation to a local foodbank will go to someone referred for emergency help. For more information, please visit  www.trusselltrust.org/summer-appeal.

 

Ends

 

Notes to Editor

 

Age data breakdown:

 

67,506 three day emergency food supplies were provided for children by The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network in July and August 2016 compared to 63,094 in May and June 2016.

 

Between July and August 2016, of all 67, 506 three day emergency food supplies from The Trussell Trust foodbank network that went to children,

  • 27% went to 0-4 year olds
  • 47% went to 5-11 year olds
  • 21% went to 12-16 year olds
  • 5% went to children for whom their age was not know

 

Between April 2016 and March 2017, of all 436,938 three day emergency food supplies from The Trussell Trust foodbank network that went to children,

  • 27% went to 0-4 year olds
  • 46% went to 5-11 year olds
  • 21% went to 12-16 year olds
  • 6% went to children for whom their age was not known

 

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 about The Trussell Trust visit trusselltrust.org

*Trussell Trust statistics:

  • The Trussell Trust statistics are a measure of volume – they show the number of people to whom The Trussell Trust foodbanks have given three days’ emergency food. These are not necessarily unique users. For example, if a family of three was referred to a foodbank twice in one year, this would count as six people on the system, because someone received three days’ emergency food six times. However, if a family of three were only referred to a foodbank once, this would count as three.
  • On average, people need two foodbank vouchers in a year. Our figures have always been reported in this way. You can read more on our figures here: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/end-year-stats/

**Turn2us: Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services. The Turn2us benefit calculator works out whether someone is entitled to any means tested benefits, and if so which ones. For more about Turn2us visit https://www.turn2us.org.uk

 

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Local Welfare Provision: A Local Jigsaw?

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The Trussell Trust, which runs a network of over 420 foodbanks in the UK, contacted foodbanks and Local Authorities in England in order to map provision of Local Welfare Assistance Schemes (LWAS) and share best practice, alongside identifying areas for improving service provision and interventions to reduce people experiencing financial crisis. Information from over 77 (24%) of foodbanks in The Trussell Trust network and 74 (21%) local authorities in England is included in the report. (more…)

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Cutting edge research provides unparalleled detail on UK Poverty

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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.

ENDS

Contact The Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or press@trusselltrust.org

Abby Jitendra, abby.jitendra@trusselltrust.org or Emma Thorogood, emma.thorogood@trusselltrust.org

 Notes

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 www.trusselltrust.org

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UK foodbank use continues to rise

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  • Over 1,182,000 three day emergency food supplies given to people in crisis in past year – 436,000 to children
  • New report on Universal Credit reveals adverse side effects on people claiming and foodbanks providing help
  • The Trussell Trust welcomes Damian Green’s willingness to work with frontline charities and calls for more flexibility and support to help people moving to Universal Credit

UK foodbank use continues to rise according to new data from anti-poverty charity, The Trussell Trust. Between 1st April 2016 and 31st March 2017, The Trussell Trust’s Foodbank Network provided 1,182,954 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis compared to 1,109,309 in 2015-16. Of this number, 436,938 went to children. This is a measure of volume rather than unique users, and on average, people needed two foodbank referrals in the last year.* [see notes to editor]

(more…)

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Waitrose supports UK charity to fund household budgeting & cookery courses

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The Trussell Trust partners with local communities to help stop UK hunger by running a network of over 420 foodbanks and providing a range of additional ‘More Than Food’ services, which aim to tackle the underlying causes of poverty by offering immediate help at the point of crisis. These include money advice, cooking and budgeting courses and holiday clubs for struggling families.

Waitrose’s donation will cover the core costs of running ‘Eat Well Spend Less’ courses, The Trussell Trust’s free six-session course which teaches cookery skills and household budgeting tips to make tight budgets stretch further. The basics of inexpensive and nutritious cooking, as well as household budgeting and meal planning to help reduce food waste are all covered in each two and a half hour long session. The hands-on sessions see participants preparing food such as basic tomato sauce, burgers, homemade bread, and cereal bars. (more…)

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