who we work with: The Trussell Trust

The organisation

The Trussell Trust runs the largest network of UK foodbanks, joining communities together to stop UK hunger. Thirteen million people live below the poverty line and everyday people go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. In 2014-15, The Trussell Trust’s 400-strong network of foodbanks provided a minimum of three days’ emergency food and support to 1,084,605 people experiencing crisis in the UK, including almost 400,000 children.

The Trussell Trust partners with a wide range of frontline care professionals such as doctors, health visitors and social workers, who identify people in crisis and issue them with a foodbank voucher. This entitles them to receive a parcel of three days’ nutritionally balanced, non-perishable food, which has been donated by the generous public. A simple box of food makes a big difference, with foodbanks helping prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems.

But foodbanks also offer a lot more than food. Trained volunteers provide a listening ear to clients over a cup of tea, as well as signposting people to other charities and agencies who can help resolve the underlying cause of the problem.  

“Without the foodbank, I don’t think I would be here today,” said Richard, who is very grateful for the support he received from The Trussell Trust, following a deterioration in his health and domestic life. Watch him share his story here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3scrALoxT_8

Holiday Meals project

1 in 5 parents skip meals to feed their children. The school holidays can be a particularly difficult time, due to the lack of free school meals and the added pressure of funding childcare, meaning families who are already managing on extremely tight budgets are being pushed further into crisis

Trussell Trust CEO, David McAuley explains: “Last summer we saw an increase in demand for emergency food, with over 20,000 more referrals from frontline professionals to our foodbanks than in the previous quarter. Our foodbanks tell us that they are listening to some serious concerns from parents about how they are going to afford vital extra meals during the holiday period. Six weeks is a long time when your budget is already tightly stretched, and for some, it may be too difficult”.

To help address this issue, The Trussell Trust is setting up holiday meal clubs for parents and children, helping to support families in food poverty during the school holidays. This is part of their More Than Food programme, which sees foodbanks widening their support beyond food. Foodbanks will become community hubs, offering a range of support in one location to do with issues such as welfare, housing and debt problems, helping those in crisis to break the cycle of poverty.

Innocent Foundation is offering two year funding for this Holiday Meals project. It will start by investigating existing levels of school holiday meal provision within the Foodbank Network, which will then lead to piloting holiday meal clubs in up to 10 foodbanks. This will enable the Trussell Trust to develop good practice guidelines and an operating model to be rolled out across the Foodbank Network. By the end of the two years, up to 50 foodbanks across the network will be hosting meal clubs during the holidays.