The Trussell Trust supports more than 1,400 food banks, many of which are based in and run by local churches, and are supported by over 36,000 volunteers across the UK.
Our central team serves the operational needs of this network. We support food banks to provide a minimum of three days’ nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis (for instance by advice agencies, GPs, social services and schools), as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face.
1.5 million emergency food parcels were provided to people between April and September 2023 by food banks in the charity’s UK-wide network. This is the most parcels that the network has ever distributed at this point in the year and represents a 16% increase from the same period in 2022.
94% of people referred to food banks are facing real destitution (meaning they are unable to afford food, shelter, energy, toiletries and clothing). On average, these households have less than £60 a week to live on after rent. A Yougov survey undertaken in 2022 showed that one in five (21%) people on Universal Credit were unable to cook hot food as they couldn’t afford to use the cooker, while almost a quarter (23%) have been unable to travel to work or essential appointments because they couldn’t afford the cost of public transport or fuel. Worryingly, 38% of people said that in the last month, they’d gone a whole day with no food at all or just one meal because they couldn’t afford to buy enough food.
We understand that every person’s struggle with poverty is different and that it takes more than food to end hunger. So we bring together the experiences of food banks in our network, and their communities, to challenge the structural issues that lock people in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK. We are firmly focused on developing approaches that bring local and national teams together in the most effective way in every place we work; and it’s not just about providing food. Churches play a very important role on the ground, with each food bank typically supported by around 15 churches in the town or district.
Our strategic plan is focused on delivering our vision to end the need for food-banks in the UK. Our advocacy and influencing work is based on, and powerfully amplified through, standing side by side with people with lived experience of hunger and destitution. We want to reach a future where changes have been made to ensure everyone has enough money for essentials so no one needs a food bank. We want to reach a future where as a country, we are never needed again. And we know that with the right people in our team, we can get there.