Background to our work
We support more than 1,200 food bank centres in the UK, many of which are based in and run by local churches, and supported by around 28,000 volunteers across the country. Our small central team serves the operational needs of this network. Read more about our history.
As you would expect, COVID-19 has had a huge impact on need. In the 12 months before the pandemic truly hit the UK, food banks in our network provided 1.9 million emergency food parcels to people in crisis, with over 700,000 of these going to children. That’s an 18% increase on the year before, and up almost 75% over the last five years.
In April 2020, food banks saw an 89% increase in need compared to the same period last year, with the need for emergency food for children more than doubling. Despite the challenging times, public and partner support also increased exponentially, which has been vital in allowing us to meet the rise in need and continue to campaign for an end to the structural issues which lock people into destitution.
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 £50 a week to live on after rent. Read more in our ground-breaking report State of Hunger.
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. We are also very grateful for the support of our corporate partners and funders.
Our new strategic plan aims to campaign our organisation out of existence. This 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 nation, we know we will never let this happen again. And we know that with the right people in our team, we can get there.
Read more in our news and blog.