Food banks receive almost £2 million in grants to provide more support to people locked in poverty

More than 90 food banks across the UK have been awarded grants to provide additional support to people in crisis, as the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change partnership between the retailer, the Trussell Trust and FareShare marks its first anniversary

As the partnership works to continue tackling the root causes of poverty in the UK, the new grant funding will allow food banks to provide even more vital services to people at the point of crisis. From supplying emergency food parcels to providing on-site debt and money advice, the grants will allow the food banks to hire specialist advisers, create additional storage space and increase work to help those people facing poverty across the UK.

In the 12 months since the launch of the three-year Asda Fight Hunger Create Change campaign, the £20m partnership between the retailer, anti-poverty charity the Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity FareShare has:

  • Funded the first phase of the most in-depth piece of research into food bank use to date
  • Supported the development of the Trussell Trust’s advocacy work for long-term solutions to the drivers of food bank use
  • Developed a ground-breaking pilot linking FareShare and the Trussell Trust to deliver fresh surplus food to food banks. Already more than a thousand people have benefited from a greater variety of nutritious fresh fruit and vegetables in addition to the standard three-day emergency parcel

The partnership has also provided 5 million additional meals for people in need through:

  • Opening 3 new FareShare warehouses to enable the distribution of an additional 1.8 million meals a year;
  • More than 2.2 million meals provided to community groups – including children’s breakfast clubs, women’s refuges and elderly lunch clubs – as a result of new Asda-funded warehouses, chillers and vans which have vastly increased FareShare’s capacity, and;
  • 150,000 meals donated to FareShare’s network of local charities from unsold surplus food and more than 1 million meals to food banks through customer donations from Asda stores

Over the three years, the partnership will help provide even more support to people referred to food banks, fund a three-year research project into the drivers of food bank use, provide an additional 24 million meals every year as well as one million fresh food parcels to people across the UK.

Andy Murray, Chief Customer Officer at Asda said: “It’s been a year since we launched our partnership with Trussell Trust and FareShare, and I’m incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made to change the face of food poverty in the UK. As we move into the second year of our campaign, we’ll continue to provide not just meals for people but support to help them out of poverty, and we thank our customers and colleagues for their ongoing support in our challenge to fight hunger”.

Asda has teamed up with FareShare and the Trussell Trust to tackle poverty

The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said: “No one should need a food bank’s help. While we work in the long-term to tackle the structural issues that lock people in poverty, food banks will be able to provide even more vital support to people referred. We’ve never been in a position to support our network to deliver help to this extent before – the nature of investment is unprecedented. These grants will provide crucial additional resources to food banks, increasing the diversity and breadth of the services they can offer people in crisis and tackle the root causes of poverty.”

Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, said: “The Fight Hunger Create Change programme is already enabling unprecedented transformation for the UK’s charities and community groups. Thanks to Asda’s funding FareShare has been able to open new warehouses, lease more vans and – most importantly – service more charities with more vital nutritious meals, ensuring surplus food is diverted to those who need it most. It has also enabled FareShare to work in close partnership with the Trussell Trust to make a real lasting impact in fighting hunger, as we roll out redistribution of fresh surplus fruit and veg to its network of food banks.”

Simone Connolly, Director of FareShare East Midlands, which has opened a new warehouse, said: “Since the opening of our brand new warehouse in Leicester, our impact has increased dramatically. The new warehouse is over twice the size of our previous premises, effectively doubling our capacity as we aim to provide over 500,000 additional meals to people in need over the next year.”

Jonathan Lees at Epsom & Ewell Foodbank, which has received a grant, said:

“With demand on our food bank accelerating alarmingly, we cannot simply increase the scale of what we do – it is just not sustainable. Using this grant, we plan to take a different approach. We want to explore the root causes of poverty and begin to transform systems and cultures within public, private and voluntary sector organisations in East Surrey through a Poverty Truth Commission (PTC). The commission will work together to understand and address the causes and symptoms of poverty, ensuring that those affected by poverty, and their stories, are central to decisions made about how to tackle it. Let’s hope that the outcome is that one day no one will need support from our food bank.”

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