Our work with lived experience partners

We work alongside people who have first-hand experience of struggling to afford the essentials, and who have used a Trussell Trust food bank, to help shape our work.

We are committed to learning from people with lived experience of poverty and hunger. Our work with our lived experience partners is called participation.

Working together for change

Participation means engaging people who use a particular service in the decision making, development and leadership of the service. That means that people are not just listened to, but also heard; and that their voices shape our work and the work of food banks.

Our Together for Change panel is an example of this activity. We convened a group of 12 experts by experience from across the UK. They helped interrogate our Together for Change strategy and collaborated on projects with teams across the Trussell Trust.

“Without people who struggle against poverty as leaders of change, we won’t end the need for food banks in the UK.”

John, Together for Change panel member

John’s Story

“I’ve been part of the Together for Change panel since November 2021. The Together for Change panel came about because Trussell recognised there were not enough people with lived experience of financial hardship involved in strategic decision-making and wanted to change that.

“The project brought a group of people with diverse lived experience into the heart of delivering the Trussell Trust’s strategy. We met monthly to build relationships and work with Trussell staff to co-create projects that contribute towards our shared goal of ending the need for food banks.

“I was part of a subgroup with two other members and staff from the Financial Inclusion (FI) team. We created a booklet informed by our experiences when using food banks that have an FI project.

“The booklet is titled ‘How to help someone have a good experience accessing and engaging with Financial Inclusion advice run by a food bank’ and has been shared with food banks in the Trussell Trust network and is even being translated into Welsh.

“Being part of a project that uses our experiences to make change is amazing. It is great to see how it is making a change in many ways and people with lived experience are being looked to for help.

“You might be asking yourself why do this? Truth is, without people who struggle against poverty as leaders of change, we won’t end the need for food banks in the UK. We bring expertise to the table – not just our stories. We have insight about what changes need to be made that you can only have through experiencing something first hand.

“Through being involved with the panel, I feel like my confidence has really grown. Through the projects, I’ve learned things about facilitation and bringing people together, how to build their confidence too. My experience as a person with lived expertise is now nothing to be ashamed of. If anything, it is something to be proud of.”

Contact us

Do you, or someone you know, have first-hand experience of struggling to afford the essentials and using a Trussell Trust food bank?

If you’d like to know more about how that first-hand experience could help shape our work, email [email protected]