2,600 food parcels were provided for children every day by foodbanks nationally during the first six months of the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Foodbanks in the Trussell Trust’s UK network saw a shocking 47% increase in need during the crisis, building on record need experienced during the same period last year.
- The Trussell Trust warns these figures are the tip of the iceberg, as many people will have been helped by other community groups.
- Welcome steps have been taken by the UK Government but longer-term action is needed, and The Trussell Trust is calling for people to join the campaign to build a Hunger Free Future.
New figures released today reveal 2,600 emergency food parcels were provided for children every day on average by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network during the first six months of the pandemic.
More than 1.2 million emergency food parcels were given to people struggling to afford essentials by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK-wide network between 1st April and 30th September 2020, making it the busiest ever half-year period for food banks; over 470,000 of these parcels went to children.
While the figures highlight the level of need across the UK, the charity warns their new figures do not include the number of people helped by the countless new community organisations, independent food banks and local authorities, which have stepped up during the pandemic to support their communities.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, explains:
“Throughout 2020, communities across the country have stepped in to provide vital support to people left without enough money. Volunteers in food banks have been working hard under extremely difficult circumstances to make sure support is there for people struggling to afford essentials. But it’s not right that any of us are forced to a charity for food, at any time of year.
“In the last few weeks, we’ve seen incredible compassion and concern for people facing hunger following Marcus Rashford’s brilliant campaigning. And it’s hugely welcome to see the government build on steps already taken by providing significant new funding for local councils in England. This vital local support must work in coordination with a national welfare system that is strong enough to act as a lifeline to anyone struggling to afford the essentials.
“This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit us suddenly, with devastating consequences for people’s lives. But it’s also shown we can make huge changes to the way we live and look after each other. It’s shown that when we come together to push for change, the government responds. Together, we can build a hunger free future.”
The Trussell Trust has welcomed recent steps made by the government to prevent people from falling into destitution – including the announcement of the £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme for England which is an important boost for local welfare assistance the charity has campaigned for.
But the charity is concerned that food banks in its network may still see high levels of need over the winter and beyond – particularly as redundancies recently hit a record high, doubling since the previous quarter. It’s asking the government to ensure money is kept in the pockets of people who need it most by:
- Locking in the £20 rise to Universal Credit, brought in at the start of the pandemic, and making sure that people currently excluded, such a people receiving payments through the legacy system, get this money too
- Helping people hold on to more of their benefits by suspending benefit debt deductions until a fairer approach to repayments can be introduced