Posts in 'Press Releases'

Call for donations as charity reveals rise in food for children is behind increased foodbank need during holidays

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An increase in demand for emergency food for children drove increased foodbank need during the summer holidays last year, new data published by anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust shows today.

Last year the number of supplies given to adults decreased slightly in the summer months, whereas the level of support needed for children was markedly higher: during July and August 2017, The Trussell Trust’s network of over 420 foodbanks provided over 204,525 three day emergency supplies, 74,011 of which went to children. In comparison, during May and June 2017 70,510 supplies went to children.* (more…)

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Fix Universal Credit to prevent more people going hungry, say UK food aid providers

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End Hunger UK, a coalition of organisations working together to tackle hunger, today launched a national petition calling on the Prime Minister to fix Universal Credit to prevent people going hungry.  Evidence from frontline food aid providers across the UK reveals that the rollout of Universal Credit is currently causing hardship for vulnerable people, and putting pressure on emergency food supplies. 

End Hunger UK’s survey of food aid providers, published today, is just the latest piece of evidence that Universal Credit needs to be fixed. Both the National Audit Office and The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network, which has seen a 52% average increase in foodbank use in areas after 12 months of full Universal Credit rollout, have raised concerns about increased pressure on frontline charities following the rollout of the new benefits system. (more…)

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Mind and The Trussell Trust evidence problems with Universal Credit

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Representatives from leading mental health charity Mind and anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust gave evidence to the Public Accounts Committee yesterday about the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC).

Both charities have recently called on the Government to delay the roll out of UC after the National Audit Office (NAO) released a damning report highlighting how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has not done enough to protect and support ‘vulnerable claimants’ including disabled people and people with health conditions. (more…)

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New NAO report on Universal Credit highlights hardship & foodbank use

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Responding to the National Audit Office report about the roll out of Universal Credit, Emma Revie, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust, said,

“No one should need to turn to a foodbank. Our benefits system was built to end hunger and destitution – Universal Credit can and must continue that legacy, but if it is to do so we need payments to cover the cost of essentials, more support in place for groups of people most likely to need a foodbank, and debt advice to be offered to everyone moving onto the new system. (more…)

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“Benefit levels must keep pace with rising cost of essentials” as record increase in foodbank figures is revealed

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Between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018, The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network distributed 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, a 13% increase on the previous year. 484,026 of these went to children. This is a higher increase than the previous financial year, when foodbank use was up by 6.64%.

For the first time, new national data highlights the growing proportion of foodbank referrals due to benefit levels not covering the costs of essentials, driving the increase in foodbank use overall. ‘Low income – benefits, not earning’ is the biggest single, and fastest growing, reason for referral to a foodbank, with ‘low income’ accounting for 28% of referrals UK-wide compared to 26% in the previous year. Analysis of trends over time demonstrates it has significantly increased since April 2016, suggesting an urgent need to look at the adequacy of current benefit levels.** (more…)

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Call for child benefits freeze to be lifted as new report shows families with children are most likely to need foodbanks

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  • Families with children make up over half of foodbank users, who are more likely to have dependent children than the UK average
  • Households with children at foodbanks are more likely to be in work than households without children, but the average equivalised income of working families stands at just £419 per month, less than half of the low-income threshold for the UK and well below the Minimum Income Standard for families
  • Single parents reported rising food and housing costs as particular issues whilst couple parents were more likely to be facing a double-burden of childcare and ill-health

Analysis published today by the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Sheffield sheds new light on the type of families using foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network and highlights that families with dependent children are more likely than other family types to use foodbanks. 70% of families at foodbanks have dependent children, compared to just 42% in the general UK population. Single parent households are particularly at risk of needing a foodbank – they are almost two times more prevalent among households at foodbanks compared to the general population. (more…)

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Calls grow for Government measure of ‘hidden hunger’ as new figures show 1 in 4 parents skipping meals because of lack of money

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  • Over 1 in 10 adults and almost 1 in 4 parents with children aged 18 and under skipping meals because of lack of money
  • Majority of adults (3 in 5) have seen food bills go up in last 3 months, reflecting higher food inflation
  • 77% of adults agree the Government should measure household food insecurity**
  • Coalition of food poverty charities, End Hunger UK, calls for national measure of household food insecurity to tackle ‘hidden hunger’ crisis

New figures released today show the extent of ‘hidden hunger’ across Britain, with 16% of adults either skipping or seeing someone in their household skipping meals, 14% worrying about not having enough food to eat, and 8% going a whole day without eating because of lack of money in the last 12 months. People are seeing higher food bills, with 59% of adults seeing their groceries costing more in the last three months compared with the same period before.

Parents of children aged 18 and under are particularly food insecure, with 23% either skipping or seeing someone in their household skipping a meal due to a lack of money, 23% worrying about not having enough food to eat, and 13% going without eating for a whole day in the last 12 months. Parents with primary school-age children (aged 5-11) fared worst, with 27% either skipping or seeing someone in their household skipping meals to make ends meet in the last 12 months.

People in work didn’t fare better than the average, with similar figures for skipping meals, working about not having enough to eat and going a whole day without eating. However, the  survey also suggests other groups, such as people not in work and 18-24 year olds, face dangerous levels of food insecurity. 36% of unemployed people had skipped a meal and 28% had gone a whole day without eating, while 23% of 18-24 year olds had skipped a meal and 20% worried about not having enough food to eat.

Most (77%) of adults think the Government should monitor how many people in the UK are food insecure. Anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust has reported that foodbank use is set to hit record numbers this financial year, but these figures do not include independent foodbanks (which make up around a 1/3 of the total number of UK foodbanks[1]), other food aid providers, or people who skip meals without asking for help.

Foodbank figures also cannot capture people who rely on friends and family or discount food to get by. Today’s figures show 21% of adults bought cheaper or discounted food out of necessity, while almost 1 in 10 (8%) relied on friends and family for a meal, highlighting the scale of ‘hidden hunger’. Parents with children aged 18 and under were even more likely to rely on friends and family (11%) or buy cheap or discounted food (28%).

In response to today’s new statistics, End Hunger UK, a coalition of food poverty organisations which includes The Trussell Trust, the Food Foundation, and the Independent Food Aid Network, have called on the Government to commit to measuring household food insecurity.

Emma Lewell-Buck, MP for South Shields and author of a bill on measuring food insecurity, said today:

‘Now is the time for the government to sit up and tackle the growing issue of hunger in our country. Whilst the Government has carried out snapshot measures of food insecurity, these are piecemeal and don’t allow for assessment of long-term trends. We know that 1.1 million food parcels are given out in Trussell Trust foodbanks alone but these figures are clearly the tip of the iceberg. – the United Nations has estimated over 8 million people in the UK are food insecure; approximately 2000 food banks and foodbank centres are in operation; rising levels of hospital admissions due to malnutrition cost the NHS £12bn per year; and there are record levels of in-work poverty.

Without a robust system of household food insecurity measurement in place, making policy to mitigate hunger will never become a reality. It is clear that the time for action is now and urgent. That’s why I’m taking a bill to Parliament to make the Government measure hidden hunger, because what gets measured gets mended.’

Laura Sandys, Chair and Founder of the Food Foundation, said today:

‘The research shows that more and more of British families are unable to provide regular meals and are frequently anxious about providing the basics –  food on the table for their families. Not only is this unacceptable in 21st Century Britain but we have to start counting the health and social consequences for the next generation. We know that food insecurity can trigger a range of unhealthy eating habits and force people to buy cheaper, less nutritious and more calorific food. This Government has an opportunity to lead the fight against this hidden hunger by measuring household food insecurity and making sure people can afford to feed themselves and their families a healthy diet.’



**Food insecurity is defined as going hungry, at risk of going hungry or worried about going hungry due to not being able to afford food


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2032 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th – 17th January 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

End Hunger UK is supported by many national organisations, including: Baptist Union of Great Britain; Church Action on Poverty, Church of Scotland; First Steps Nutrition, Food Bank As It Is, Magic Breakfast; National Federation of Women’s Institutes; Nourish Scotland; Food Ethics Council; Food Matters; Oxfam GB; The Food Foundation; The Methodist Church; The Trussell Trust; Independent Food Aid Network; Student Christian Movement; Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming; Quakers in Britain and United Reformed Church.


[1]Mapping the UK’s Independent Foodbanks’, 2017, Independent Food Aid Network.

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Trussell Trust response to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement

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‘The Chancellor’s Spring Statement today offers an economy that works for some, but not all. The evidence from foodbanks is clear – for people who could struggle to find or cannot manage full time employment, the economy isn’t working. Disabled people and those with health issues are over-represented in foodbanks, along with families with children – especially single parents.

We urge the Chancellor to address these issues in the Budget later this year, specifically by unfreezing and uprating in line with inflation rates levels of child tax credits and child benefits in Universal Credit, and by ensuring work pays for parents as the new system rolls out by allowing families to keep more of what they earn. Reversing cuts to disability benefits and improving financial support for people on disabilities on Universal Credit will also help ensure fewer people need a foodbank referral in the future.’

Garry Lemon, Head of External Affairs

Read more about our research and advocacy work here, and read our groundbreaking research with the University of Oxford and Kings College, London, here.

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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.



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:

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:

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

Telephone: 020 3745 5982 / E-Mail:

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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 and click on the links to “Give help”/”Donate food”.



*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 .
  • 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


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