Blog

To reach a UK without the need for food banks, we must address structural racism

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Marcia Bluck, director of diversity and inclusion 

I want to start with a disclaimer – I’m not a victim. I create my own seat at the table. But we need to acknowledge why that can be harder for some to do than others 

Last month, the Commission on Race & Ethnic Disparities’ report was published, arguing that the term ‘institutional racism’ is overused, and that while impediments and disparities do exist for people from ethnic minority backgrounds, ‘very few of them are directly to do with racism’.  

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Acceptable? A poem calling for change

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This week, we released a brand new video of an incredible poem ‘Acceptable’ – have you seen it yet?

Written by Caroline, one of the thousands of people who’ve signed up to help us build a hunger free future, and read by food bank volunteers and staff from the UK, it describes what it’s really like to need to use a food bank, and should inspire us all to stop, reflect, and take action.

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Tropic Skincare helps build a hunger free future

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Tropic Skincare are standing with the Trussell Trust to build a hunger free future and a UK without the need for food banks. Within the first six months of the partnership, Tropic has raised an amazing £100,000 in support of our work. That is double the amount in half the time Tropic and the Trussell Trust were aiming for, which is astounding. We’re very grateful for this incredible support.

Between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, a record 2.5 million emergency food parcels were given to people in crisis by food banks in the Trussell Trust network. That’s a shocking 33% increase in need on the previous year, and almost a million of these parcels went to children.

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Aneita’s story

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“Growing up, we lived in a flat in Bethnal Green that had no central heating. There were times we sat in the dark as there was no electricity.

It was a struggle. My mum had mental health issues that went undiagnosed and was left traumatised by domestic violence. There were no birthday parties, there were no friends around to play, our home never looked like my friends’ homes. I left at 18, lived in a homeless hostel for a while and then got my first flat. I had nothing, just the clothes I had. I had no one to turn to for help, I had no clue how to pay bills. When I had no money to top up the electricity, I would sit covered in blankets reading by candlelight. I had left school with no qualifications and suffered from depression as I had been through some really traumatic situations. I regularly went for days without eating. 

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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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