As part of their ongoing partnership with the Trussell Trust, Pears Foundation has announced a £1 million grant to the charity which supports a network of food banks across the UK. The funds, to be provided over the next five years, will focus on tackling destitution by raising people’s incomes. This will include the provision of high-quality benefits advice made freely available for people referred to food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network.
As the full impact of COVID-19 continues to unfold, the latest research by the Trussell Trust forecasts a 61% increase in food parcels needed across its UK network in October to December – this equates to six emergency food parcels given out every minute.
The anti-poverty charity warns that with mass unemployment predicted on a scale not seen since the early nineties, there will be further rises in poverty with 670,000 additional people classed as destitute by the end of 2020, meaning they cannot afford essentials like housing, energy and food. This is on top of year-on-year rises in the number of people unable to afford food and forced to food banks across the UK.
Pears Foundation has been a long-term partner of the Trussell Trust and this transformational five-year grant will allow the charity to roll out of a national programme of specialist benefits advice, creating sustainable services that meet local need and help make sure people have the money they need.
Pears Foundation has previously supported a Child Poverty Action Group income maximisation pilot based at a food bank in Tower Hamlets. This demonstrated the positive impact welfare rights and benefits advice can have; over the course of eight years, the project returned a total of £4.2m to 1,512 clients.
This new partnership aims to enable half of all food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network to have implemented an income maximisation programme in the next five years. This will include building a financial resilience team, providing signposting training for volunteers, a grant programme to fund services and data capture and advocacy.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said:
“We’ve seen unprecedented numbers of people needing help from food banks for the first time as the impact of coronavirus has hit people’s incomes. This isn’t right. But thanks to the longstanding support of the Pears Foundation, over many years, we’ve been able to weather the storm of the pandemic and move forward with renewed confidence in supporting our network of food banks during these uncertain times.
“Ultimately no one should ever need to use a food bank. By making sure that people struggling to afford food are getting as much income as possible, projects funded by this grant will not only help people at the point of crisis but will also make it less likely that someone will need a food bank in the future. We can become a country where everyone has enough money for essentials.”
Sir Trevor Pears CMG, executive chair of the Pears Foundation, said:
“We are delighted to continue and deepen our Foundation’s decade long partnership with the Trussell Trust. We fully support the Trust’s new Income Maximisation strategy and their increasing focus on ending the need for food banks. Having funded the successful Tower Hamlets pilot we are very pleased to back the Trust as they roll out this approach on a national basis. I look forward to continuing to work with Emma and the team at Trussell Trust over the coming five years to help thousands of people facing severe financial hardship.”