Blog

The long read: an unprecedented year leads to record levels of need for food banks

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Our series of blogs deep-diving into what’s happening in food banks continues, as Research Manager Tom Weekes delves into today’s new statistics highlighting the record number of emergency food parcels distributed by our network in the last year

Over the last year food banks in the Trussell Trust network have been at the frontline of the national emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. More people than ever have been tipped into financial crisis and a record six million people are currently receiving Universal Credit. Today’s figures from the Trussell Trust show just how precarious people’s finances have been.

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We’re calling on all Holyrood candidates to create change

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On 6 May, voters in Scotland will elect new Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) for their communities and a new government for Scotland. While ongoing Covid-19 restrictions mean fewer of us will have had aspiring MSPs chapping our doors or leaflets thrown into our hands on the high street, these elections are an important turning point for Scotland.

While the constitution remains top of the political agenda for many, it is a sobering fact that levels of poverty in Scotland are stubbornly high. Right now in Scotland, one in four children are growing up in poverty and we know that, since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, more people than ever have experienced destitution, unable to afford the essentials that we all need to eat, stay warm and dry, and keep clean. We also know that poverty is not inevitable. We can change this.

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The 2021 elections are a vital opportunity

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By Rory Weal, Policy & Public Affairs Manager

‘The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry,’ so they say. Beyond the immediate heartache and suffering caused by the pandemic, it’s also been a year filled with missed family visits, cancelled holidays, and all manner of plans left in tatters.

In these circumstances, you might be forgiven for missing that several important elections were also postponed last year and will now be taking place on 6 May 2021.

These elections matter – their outcomes will help to determine how we build a better future as we look to recover from the pandemic. Crucially, they could help provide a turning point to build a future where we can end the need for food banks.

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Together for change with the church community

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Food banks offer vital support to people across the country, and churches play a crucial part in this work, generously providing venues, volunteers, leadership, donations, and more. We’re so grateful to the church community for all that they do to help people in crisis and build a better future, where no one needs to turn to a food bank to get by.

That’s why, as we come together to build a hunger free future, we’re hosting a series of online Big Church Leaders’ Breakfasts, not only to say thank you to church leaders but also to share our vision for a UK without the need for food banks. Whether your church is already involved or you’re just keen to learn more about our work, this event has something for everyone.

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The pandemic and food banks: what’s happened and where do we go next?

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Blog by Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust 

There’s something about this time of year that often makes me feel both reflective and hopeful. And this Easter, with the recent anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown, that feels especially heightened. So I wanted to share with you the challenges food banks across the country have faced over the past year, how we’ve responded, and what this means for what we’re doing next.

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How Covid-19 has affected the way we think about benefits

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As part of our Hunger Free Future campaign, we polled 2,000 people to find out how they feel about claiming benefits – and revealed that the pandemic has had a real impact on our views, suggesting that ‘benefits’ no longer carries the negative connotations it once might have done.

More than 40% of people said that before the pandemic, they would have felt – or did feel – embarrassed by the thought of claiming benefits. But with so many of us struggling financially in the wake of Covid-19, with businesses folding, redundances, and workers being furloughed, that perception has shifted. Now, just 35% of people feel that way.

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Scale of food insecurity demands long-term plan to end the need for food banks

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By Tom Weekes, Research Manager

Scale of food insecurity demands long term plan to end the need for food banks.

Figures released today by the Food Standards Agency[i] (FSA) highlight the millions of people experiencing severe food insecurity during the pandemic. Food banks in the Trussell Trust network have seen this crisis first-hand, with the first six months of the pandemic being the network’s busiest ever.[ii]

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Budget 2021: Rishi Sunak misses opportunity to strengthen social security and protect people from poverty

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Blog by Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust

We are almost a year on from the beginning of a devastating pandemic which has taken away people’s lives and livelihoods.

We have seen a monumental rise in levels of serious hardship, record levels of need across our network of food banks and a vast number of people coming to food banks for the first time in their lives.

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The Universal Credit uplift must remain in place

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By Emily Spoor, Research Officer

This week, new benefit statistics show the huge scale of the economic impact of the pandemic. Almost 6 million people are now receiving Universal Credit (UC), up from 2.7 million in January last year and 3 million at the start of the pandemic. This doubling means that around one in seven working-age adults in Great Britain are now receiving support from UC.

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Support from Papa John’s reaches £500,000

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In April 2020, we launched a new partnership with Papa John’s and we’re thrilled to announce that their support has now raised an incredible £500,000.

By fundraising on their website for us throughout 2020, Papa John’s have been able to help us make sure food banks can continue to provide emergency support in their communities, as well as work towards building a better future – one where no one need to turn to charity to get by.

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