A new partnership with Clarion Futures

18 May

We’re excited to announce our new partnership with Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group which is the UK’s largest provider of affordable housing.

Clarion staff have been able to refer residents to food banks for some time, but this new approach enables Clarion Futures staff to issue electronic vouchers, streamlining the referral process and enabling people in crisis to receive emergency food more quickly from food banks in the Trussell Trust network.

Last year, food banks in our network provided a record 2.5 million emergency food parcels to people in crisis, a shocking 33% increase in need on the previous year. Almost a million of these parcels went to children. Need at food banks has been increasing year-on-year, and these new figures highlight an alarming 128% rise compared to this time five years ago. This simply isn’t right.

The findings of recent surveys conducted by Clarion to explore the impact of the pandemic on its residents align with this, highlighting the financial issues affecting households in recent months. Research conducted during May to June and November to December 2020 found a significant increase in people worried about money issues, with 14% more people reporting concerns in winter compared to the previous summer.

The number of people forced to go without food because they couldn’t afford it rose from 8% in the summer to 11% in the winter, and the number of residents needing to use a food bank increased from 7% to 12%.

Food banks across the UK help to tackle these issues, enabling people to receive emergency food and wider support when faced with a crisis. As Steph Noyce, Head of Money and Digital at Clarion Futures, notes, “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to alleviating poverty. It’s not just about putting food on the table – it’s about tackling the underlying issues causing food insecurity.” Clarion Futures provides its residents and communities with holistic, personalised support, from free debt and money management advice to help in securing paid employment.

When Danielle was left struggling when she had to give up her job to look after her two younger siblings, this partnership provided a lifeline. While she and her partner waited for her Universal Credit claim to be processed, they were stretched to breaking point. Thanks to our partnership, Clarion Futures was able to refer Danielle to a food bank in the Trussell Trust network for both emergency food and support exploring employment opportunities that fit around her responsibilities. The partnership is already making a real difference, and we’re excited to work together to create meaningful change.

As the impact of the pandemic continues to make itself felt, more and more people are likely to need a food bank’s support. And while food banks across the country are working tirelessly to make sure they can be there for their communities, it isn’t right that anyone should need a food bank. The support of partners like Clarion Futures is vital in making sure that we can continue to support food banks now as we work together towards a hunger free future where we all have enough money for the basics.

 

 

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To reach a UK without the need for food banks, we must address structural racism

7 May

Marcia Bluck, director of diversity and inclusion 

I want to start with a disclaimer – I’m not a victim. I create my own seat at the table. But we need to acknowledge why that can be harder for some to do than others 

Last month, the Commission on Race & Ethnic Disparities’ report was published, arguing that the term ‘institutional racism’ is overused, and that while impediments and disparities do exist for people from ethnic minority backgrounds, ‘very few of them are directly to do with racism’.  

Organisations like Runnymede Trust, #CharitySoWhite and others have been leading the way in asking how this argument can be made when evidence shows us that people from racialised communities are more likely to die from Covid-19 than white ethnic groups,(1) black young mothers are four times more likely to die in childbirth than young white mothers,(2) black people are over-represented in our criminal system and more likely to get harsher sentences for the same crimes as others, and black Caribbean children are more likely to be excluded from school.(3)

So, what does this have to do with food banks?  

At the Trussell Trust, our vision is a UK without the need for food banks. We gather robust evidence about what leaves people without enough money for the basics and that shows us many people who need food banks are there because of barriers encountered due to protected characteristics like disability. Our 2019 State of Hunger research show1 in 6 people who need food banks in our network either had or lived with someone with a physical disability and 1 in 10 people have a reported learning disability or live with someone who does.(4)

State of Hunger also found that Black people are over-represented among people who need food banks compared to the UK-born working age population – something we’ve seen confirmed again through research in June and July of 2020, which showed people identifying as Black or Black British were significantly overrepresented during the Covid-19 crisis among people who need support from a food bank (9% vs 3% of the UK population).(5)

This isn’t right. 

We need to do more as an organisation to understand why there is this disproportionate risk of needing a food bank so we can work to tackle it. And that’s why meaningful equity, diversity and inclusion work is core to our mission of ending the need for food banks. If we’re to genuinely address the root causes of poverty and build a future where we all have enough money for the basics, we must ensure that diverse people with lived experiences of poverty shape our work, and do our part to help dismantle the structural discrimination that cuts across our society and locks people in poverty.

We are working on becoming a leader on equity, diversity and inclusion at the Trussell Trust. We’ve started making changes (which you can read more about here), but we’re at the beginning of a longer-term process and we have a lot more work to do. Sustainable, authentic and accountable transformation takes time. 

We’re exploring how to meaningfully embed equity, diversity and inclusion in all of our upcoming work – from equipping and creating resources for both our staff and volunteers through to programmes offering support to people who need food banks and the ways we build public will for a future where everyone has enough money for food. We also recognise that the privilege that many  have benefitted from needs to be used more - not just to challenge inequalities people face due to things like race, disability and socio-economics, but also to challenge the structures in our society that create those inequalities and lock people in poverty.   

We can become a country where no one needs a food bank. But if we’re going to get there, we need to understand the inequality so many people face in the UK today, and confront the reasons why that inequality exists on a structural level.  

 


 

  1. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/925135/S0778_Drivers_of_the_higher_COVID-19_incidence__morbidity_and_mortality_among_minority_ethnic_groups.pdf 
  2. https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/assets/downloads/mbrrace-uk/reports/maternal-report-2020/MBRRACE-UK_Maternal_Report_Dec_2020_-_Ex_Summary_v10.pdf
  3. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/643001/lammy-review-final-report.pdf and https://www.theguardian.com/education/2021/mar/24/exclusion-rates-black-caribbean-pupils-england 
  4. https://www.stateofhunger.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/State-of-Hunger-Report-November2019-Digital.pdf
  5. https://www.trusselltrust.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/09/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-food-banks-report.pdf

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A village bands together to push for a Hunger Free Future

22 Dec

Our campaign engagement officer, Hannah Mae Trow, explains how one village has pulled together to push for a #HungerFreeFuture in the lead up to this Christmas. 

 This year has been incredibly difficult for so many people across the country. We’ve all been hit by something unexpected and outside of our control, and for thousands of us that has meant not having enough money for the basics. Food banks in our network have seen more people than ever before being forced to them for support. This isn’t right.  

But we can’t ignore that this year has also shown us is just how much people care about each other – and it couldn’t have been clearer in 2020 just how much people want to act on that compassion, and work for a future where there’s justice for all of us.  

Which brings us to the village of Quidhampton, in Wiltshire.  

I’ve worked with campaigners and activists for a few years at the Trussell Trust now, but I’m still surprised at just how much people come together to do amazing feats of community activism – both online and ‘in real life’. 

So I was delighted to hear that in Quidhampton, not too far from where I live, members of the village community banded together to support the fight for a Hunger Free Future. Villagers proudly displayed their plate protest plates to tell neighbours about the campaign, collected food across the neighbourhood and donated money to support our work. 

Bea Tilbrook the editor of the Quidhampton Village Newspaper, regularly puts out mentions of our  work and of collections happening in the village. She sent out a village-wide email about the plate protest, and it wasn’t long before many community members were joining together to take action: 

Jane at Alexandra Cottages not only put up her plate protest poster in the window to explain why she wants a Hunger Free Future, but also generously donated £200 to help us in the fight to end the need for food banks. 

Nick and Tat from Coronation Square regularly do neighbourhood food collections, and this time they manage to collect over 38kg of food and toiletries for Salisbury Foodbank. 

And many other members of the village proudly displayed their posters in their homes, in their car windows, and the bus shelter.  

Jane explains:  

‘I think it is a sad statement of the UK that so many people need to use a food bank. I think it is truly wonderful what you (Trussell) do to support people in crisis, but we can do so much better as a country than this. Universal Credit is not a one size fits all, and the government really needs to look at it and put the human element back in to its policies.

The country is full of good people and heroes, like your volunteers and NHS workers. I believe we all want to see the end of poverty, and we need the government to do their bit to make it happen.

I am supporting the campaign (Hunger Free Future) and putting my money where my mouth is. I hope you get many people supporting you too to end the need for food banks.’ 

Together, thanks to people like Jane, Bea, Nick and Tat showing how everyone can get involved, the village of Quidhampton is calling for change. 

Which made me think: how many other communities would come together to take action too?

So my challenge for the new year, if you’ll take it, is to see if you can rally your community to join the #HungerFreeFuture campaign. There are so many different ways people can get show their support. Sign up here to find out the different ways you, and your neighbours, could get involved.  

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