Help us unlock support for

families in hardship

Summer 2021

95% of people referred to food banks in our network are living in destitution, meaning they cannot afford to eat, and stay warm and dry

People are surviving on an average of just £248 a month, after housing costs.

Low income and problems with benefits are two of the main reasons people end up needing emergency food.

Low income and problems with benefits are two of the key drivers of food bank use. Helping resolve these problems and boost incomes keeps more money in the pockets of people who need it most, enabling them to afford the essentials and reducing the need for food banks. Our financial support work has a particular focus on reviewing and maximising income from welfare benefits and enabling access to debt advice and other additional support.

Help through Hardship

At the beginning of the pandemic, we launched a helpline – Help through Hardship – in partnership with Citizens Advice, available to anyone in England or Wales facing financial crisis. In line with our aim of improving access to support that helps people increase their income, the helpline ensures that this support is offered at the earliest stage possible – before a food bank referral is made.

Callers to the helpline can receive advice, signposting to other specialist services (e.g. debt, housing, immigration), and a referral to a food bank, if needed. If people’s incomes can be increased by ensuring they are receiving all the benefits and any other income they are entitled to, it may prevent them needing to use a food bank at all, or mean that a repeat visit is not necessary.

By the end of May 2021 over 23,000 people had spoken to an advisor. In addition, more than £10 million had been unlocked for people in crisis. However, we know there is more to do as we are currently not able to answer every call.

We recently doubled the capacity of the
helpline to 40 full-time advisors.

Over the next 12 months, we aim to support over 42,000 people and unlock a further £17 million in benefits.

Grants to food banks

The Trussell Trust provides grants to food banks to enable them to employ specialist welfare advisors who can offer people additional support. Whilst their emergency food parcel is being packed by volunteers, people can sit down at the food bank with the advisor. They review their situation to understand the issues they are facing and provide specialist, personalised advice and information to help maximise their income. Given the current restrictions, many food banks are running this service virtually. By addressing the roots of the issues people are facing, we can help make sure people aren’t forced to use a food bank again in the future.

Last year, the Trussell Trust gave out nearly £1 million in financial inclusion grants to food banks. This year, we will give out a further £2.4 million to help more people access the support they need.

Rachel's Story

Rachel* experienced domestic abuse for over 11 years. The relationship with her ex-partner ended last year and she now lives in rented accommodation with her three children. Rachel has tried to take her own life multiple times due to the abuse she has endured.

She is still suffering the consequences of the abuse, including anxiety and panic attacks. Rachel is unable to work and called the Help through Hardship helpline because she was struggling to make ends meet. During the call, the advisor referred Rachel to her local Citizens Advice for support with her energy costs. They also offered advice on Discretionary Housing Payments, reducing the money she needed to pay towards her rent by £40 per month.

Although Rachel’s youngest daughter was in the process of being diagnosed with multiple medical conditions, Rachel had not previously been told about Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and her potential entitlement. The advisor was able to email her details about eligibility and explain how to apply. They also emailed details about Healthy Start vouchers. Rachel contacted us after the call saying:

“You were the light in my darkness today. I felt so comfortable talking with you and you never made me feel embarrassed or ashamed. Thank you so, so much.”

*Name has been changed to protect identity.

How your support can make a difference

A donation of
could unlock over £36,000 in benefits for families in crisis through our Helpline.

Donate £5,000

A donation of
could unlock £75,000 in financial gains and help people manage over £35,000 in debt.

Donate £10,000

A donation of
could support almost 400 families in financial crisis, providing income maximisation advice and emergency food as needed.

Donate £20,000

Make a donation

Donate now