Find all the latest news and events from the foodbank. If you are a member of the press and would like to cover any of our stories please contact us, we'd be happy to work with you.
News and events
- 913,138 people received three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks in 2013-14 compared to346,992 in 2012-13
- Figures are ‘tip of the iceberg’ of UK food poverty says Trussell Trust Chairman
- 83% of foodbanks report ‘sanctioning’ is causing rising numbers to turn to them
- Foodbank figures trigger biggest ever faith leader intervention on UK food poverty in modern times.
Over 900,000 adults and children have received three days’ emergency food and support from Trussell Trust foodbanks in the last 12 months, a shocking 163 percent rise on numbers helped in the previous financial year. Despite signs of economic recovery, the poorest have seen incomes squeezed even more than last year reports The Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest foodbank network. More people are being referred to Trussell Trust foodbanks than ever before.
Static incomes, rising living costs, low pay, underemployment and problems with welfare, especially sanctioning, are significant drivers of the increased demand. 83 percent of Trussell Trust foodbanks surveyed recently [see notes below] reported that benefits sanctions, which have become increasingly harsh, have caused more people to be referred to them for emergency food. Half of referrals to foodbanks in 2013-14 were a result of benefit delays or changes.
The Trussell Trust’s Chairman, Chris Mould, says:
‘That 900,000 people have received three days’ food from a foodbank, close to triple the numbers helped last year, is shocking in 21st century Britain. But perhaps most worrying of all this figure is just the tip of the iceberg of UK food poverty, it doesn’t include those helped by other emergency food providers, those living in towns where there is no foodbank, people who are too ashamed to seek help or the large number of people who are only just coping by eating less and buying cheap food. [See Notes below]
In the last year we’ve seen things get worse, rather than better, for many people on low-incomes. It’s been extremely tough for a lot of people, with parents not eating properly in order to feed their children and more people than ever experiencing seemingly unfair and harsh benefits sanctions.
Unless there is determined policy action to ensure that the benefits of national economic recovery reach people on low-incomes we won’t see life get better for the poorest anytime soon.
A more thoughtful approach to the administration of the benefits regime and sanctions in particular, increasing the minimum wage, introducing the living wage and looking at other measures such as social tariffs for essentials like energy would help to address the problem of UK hunger.’
Whilst there has been a 163 percent increase in foodbank use, there has only been a 45 percent increase in the number of new Trussell Trust foodbanks opening in the last year. The rate of new foodbanks opening has reduced from three a week in 2012/13 to two a week in 2013/14. The Trussell Trust has launched over 400 foodbanks across the UK to date.
Foodbanks that have been open for three years or more have seen an average increase of 51% in numbers helped in 2013-14 compared to 2012-13, showing that well established foodbanks are experiencing significant uplift in demand.
The Trussell Trust’s figures further reinforce evidence from the recent government-commissioned DEFRA report that increased foodbank use is not a question of supply, but of meeting a real and growing need.
Increasingly, Trussell Trust foodbanks are partnering with other agencies to provide additional services such as welfare advice, budgeting help and debt support at the foodbank, helping people to break out of crisis. They are also providing essentials like washing powder, nappies and hygiene products to families who are at breaking point.
Oxfam's Head of UK Poverty Programme, Rachael Orr said: "The fact that the number of people forced to turn to food banks has doubled in the last year and the situation is worsening for people in poverty is deeply worrying.
"Foodbanks and the thousands of people who support them are doing an impressive job in helping stop people from going hungry, but the truth is that in a country as rich as the UK there should not be food poverty at all. The Government needs to provide adequate support to the poorest in society and urgently tackle the low incomes and rising bills that are leaving people hungry."
Trussell Trust foodbanks have seen the biggest rise in numbers given emergency food since the charity began in 2000. Almost 350,000 people have received at least three days emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks during the last 12 months, nearly 100,000 more than anticipated and close to triple the number helped in 2011-12. Rising cost of living, static incomes, changes to benefits, underemployment and unemployment have meant increasing numbers of people in the UK have hit a crisis that forces them to go hungry. This dramatic rise in foodbank usage predates April’s welfare reforms, which could see numbers increase further in 2013-14.
Bexley Foodbank has appeared in this week’s Bexley Times! [Link]
It comes after we were absolutely blown away by the generosity of shoppers at Tesco in Welling at the beginning of December. Some people even donated whole trolley loads of food! We’re seeing a huge demand at Bexley Foodbank so the 1.7 tonnes of food donated by Tesco customers could not have come at a better time.
Since opening our doors for the first time in October, we have fed over 100 people from across Bexley borough. This wouldn’t be possible without the support from local schools, churches and organisations, not to mention our volunteers.
Bexley Foodbank would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated and been involved.
Figures released by The Trussell Trust show that the current economic climate is seeing many more people struggle to put food on the table, including families who are in work. Over 45,000 children were fed by foodbanks in 2011-12.Numbers of adults and children fed nationwide have increased from 61,468 in 2010-11 to 128,697 in 2011-12 financial year. For many foodbank clients, the rising cost of food and fuel combined with static incomes, high unemployment and changes to benefits have forced them into a crisis where they cannot afford to eat. The single biggest reason that people were referred to foodbanks was benefit delay (29%), followed by low income (19%). Other reasons for referrals include delayed wages, domestic violence, sickness,unemployment, debt, benefit changes, refused crisis loans, homelessness and absence of free school meals during school holidays. All those who received emergency food were referred by frontline care professionals such as doctors, social workers and Citizens Advice Bureau.
Trussell Trust Executive Chairman Chris Mould was invited to David Cameron's Easter Celebration at 10 Downing Street recently in recognition of the important work that foodbanks are doing across the UK.Chris says: 'The Prime Minister's acknowledgement of foodbanks is testament to the incredible work of all those across the UK who have stepped up and launched foodbanks in their towns to stop people going hungry. It's a big well done to everyone involved.
Of 2000 mothers surveyed by Netmums recently, 1 in 5 regularly go without meals to feed their children, 16% are being treated for stress-related illnesses and one third are borrowing money from friends and family to stay afloat. Most mothers stated that their situation is worse than a year ago with less money coming in.
Foodbanks meet mums in desperate situations every week. This week foodbank mum Donna was almost in tears as she told me that she couldn't afford birthday presents to give to her twins who will be 13 on Sunday. She said that her sons had asked to have a friend come to stay to celebrate their birthday but she hasn't said yes because she's not sure they can afford the extra food. Donna used to work in a school for children with Aspergers and Autism but is currently off work due to depression - which has been exacerbated by the family's financial worries. Her partner was recently made redundant and they are currently living on £38 per week due to mistakes with their benefits. This is the reality behind the statistics. Donna says she will be 'eternally grateful' for their foodbox. Without it she says she would have gone without food and had to try to scrape together enough money to give the children something, even just bread and butter. The family are keen to get back into work, that's the hope that keeps them going.
We're looking for volunteers to help run the foodbank. If you can spare a few hours a week, why not get in touch. There are lots of things that need doing from sorting food and fundraising to meeting clients and supermarket collections. Why not see where you fit in?
You may know him for his roles in Love Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean, but actor Bill Nighy is a keen campaigner on social justice. As one of the voices of the Robin Hood Tax campaign, Bill wanted to find out more about UK poverty and Oxfam suggested that he visit a Trussell Trust foodbank!
Recently, we took Bill to Hammersmith and Fulham foodbank where he met foodbank clients, heard their stories and even packed a foodbox himself. At the end of his visit we asked Bill what he thought, he told us: 'It's very moving to come here in modern times to see a room incredibly well stocked with donated food for people who, through no fault of their own, have dropped through the cracks. The fact that the people here volunteer to help is both touching and exemplary. I salute all those involved.'
Watch Guardian online's film of Bill's visit
Foodbanks are opening at an unprecedented rate to meet the high demand for emergency food aid: in 2011 The Trussell Trust has launched a new foodbank every week, launching its 100th UK foodbank this week. We've also launched our first international foodbank in Sofia, Bulgaria.
61,000 people nationwide have received emergency food handouts from The Trussell Trust's UK foodbanks in the last 12 months, 50% more than last year. Most foodbank recipients are not homeless; they are low-income working families who hit crisis, people who have been made redundant or people experiencing benefits delays. We are excited that more and more churches and communities across the UK are seeing the need on their doorsteps and working with us to launch more foodbanks.
Could your local church launch a foodbank?
Following the closure of three local companies, Okehampton foodbank has seen numbers needing emergency food soar from 20 to 200 per week. Unemployment in the Devon town has risen from 2% to nearly 12% leaving many former employees with no choice but to rely on food parcels from Okehampton foodbank until redundancy packages and benefit payments come through.
The plight of the people in Okehampton and surge in numbers turning to the foodbank has been widely reported by the national media. Whilst local people have rallied to provide extra food to meet the demand, the foodbank is still under pressure. Okehampton foodbank's Andrew Morgan told the Guardian, "We are still appealing for food, it is desperately needed: some staff made redundant hadn't been paid for weeks. There really are people with no money and they really can't afford to put food on the table."
Adrian and Kay Vernon were both made redundant from Polestar foods, Okehampton, and suddenly left with no money. With a four-year-old daughter to feed, Adrian told the BBC that his foodbox was 'a lifesaver'.
Unemployment nationwide is at a 17-year high and foodbanks across the country are experiencing huge demand. This year the UK foodbank network estimates it has fed 60,000 people; an increase of nearly 20,000 people from the previous year.