Here is a collection of information resources to find what food banks are near you. I hope it helps in these times of need.
This unfortunate page has been set up to help people identify where their nearest food bank is and also to tune into some of the major reports, thinkers and organisations who keep track of food poverty. The UK is the sixth richest economies in the world and yet multiple forms of poverty have been on the rise for years. Something is rotten in Denmark. Even UNICEF started delivering food parcels in the UK to help compensate for the inequities which have been created.
Where to find a Food bank
Below you can find links to the website of the Independent Food Aid Network and a map they have produced showing people where they can connect with their nearest local food bank. Member organisations of Independent Food Aid Network operate throughout the UK and provide food aid to people in their communities in a variety of ways. Their membership includes over 500 independent food banks.
How to search their member map:
Use the scroll wheel or the plus/minus symbol in the bottom left hand of the map to zoom in or out. Click and drag using the mouse to navigate to your part of the country. Click on a marker to get the name and website of the food bank. Visit their website for details.
(1) Click here for an expanded version of the map.
(2) In the expanded version, click on the magnifying glass icon to enter a postcode or place name.
Find a Food Bank with The Trussell Trust
The Trussell Trust support a nationwide network of food banks and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.
There are more than 1,200 food bank centres in their network which represents about two thirds of the food banks in the UK. They support these food banks to provide a minimum of three days nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis (for instance by advice agencies, GPs, social services and schools), as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face.
They said during the peak of the pandemic “We know it’s a challenging time for everyone at the moment as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds. Food banks are grassroots, community organisations aimed at supporting people who cannot afford the essentials in life. If you are in financial crisis and live in England or Wales, please call our confidential free helpline on 0808 208 2138 (open Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm, closed on public holidays). Visit the link below to find a local food bank:
Poverty as a Political Choice
The production of poverty at these levels and to these extremes must be understood as a political choice. A respected source on this is the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and one of the most cited human rights scholars in the world, Prof Philip Alston. You can hear him say this in the following video about human rights investigations 23 min 28 seconds into the video:
Do Human Rights Investigations Matter?
“And so the actual choice of countries, in some ways I was lucky because obviously China, the United States, United Kingdom, well the US and the UK came from my belief that we should not only do what Nikki Haley would like us to do which is to go to the poorest countries in the poorest continents and hammer away at them but to emphasize the theme that I’ve always pushed which is that poverty is a political choice.
Poverty could be eliminated in virtually every country if the political elite actually wanted to do that, but they don’t,
they consciously don’t. They want the money for themselves. And so looking at the US and the UK where you’ve got very wealthy economies, they had lots of choices but they still opt to have 15% or whatever of their population living in poverty so I thought it was very important to convey that message and document the linkage.”
Quote from Philip Alston 23 min 28 seconds into the video ‘Do Human Rights Investigations Matter? With Prof Philip Alston UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty; the most cited human rights scholar.
Famine as an Economic Strategy
As Prof Jean Ziegler who was the United Nations special rapporteur for the human right to food, the reason people go hungry in the world is not because there is not enough food but because of the economic and financial decisions that are made. Hunger and famine are financial instruments for making more profit and unfortunately pension and investment funds are wrapped up in the whole state of affairs. Read his book Betting on Famine for a truer picture of why the world is as it is:
The Trussell Trust make regular reports on Food Poverty and Food Insecurity in the United Kingdom. Here are some of their highlights from their 2021 ‘State of Hunger’ report which you can download below:
Drivers of hunger in the UK
- Food bank use is driven by economic need – that is, not having enough money to buy food once essential bills have been paid.
- As in 2019, our key conclusion remains that this extreme economic need is brought about by three factors, with typically all three present in recent histories of people referred to a food bank. Not having sufficient income from the social security safety net is the first and most significant factor. This is more often due to how the social security system is designed (who is eligible for what support and how much benefit income is received by people eligible) than due to operational errors with benefit administration.
- The key design features of the social security system negatively aﬀecting people referred to food banks over 2019/20 were: having to wait five weeks for the first Universal Credit (UC) payment, very low rate of UC standard allowance, deductions from UC to repay UC advances and other debts, low Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates and LHA caps, ‘bedroom tax’, and the structure and process of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment.
- The other two ‘background’ factors – those which were less immediate than, and compounded the impact of, low income and benefit problems – associated with food bank use were (a) ill-health or adverse life experiences (such as household separation or eviction), and (b) lack of informal and/or formal support. Adverse life experiences and ill-health both worsen people’s financial situation, through creating extra expenses or through undermining their capacity to navigate the benefit system. In some cases, benefit problems clearly also exacerbated health conditions. People lacking support cannot be tided over by family or friends during the period of insufficient income.
- In mid-2020, around 40% of food bank visits were mainly due to the pandemic, indicating people who had newly found themselves in crisis. However, half of such visits were made by people who had also used a food bank before the pandemic, underlining the significance of persistent or recurrent severe poverty.
- Modelling shows the vast majority of the increase in provision of food parcels is a result of increased underlying need rather than the growth in the number of food banks. This confirms previous findings from modelling of food parcel need at the local authority level.
Trussell Trust Briefing Highlights 2021 – 2022
Here are some of the highlights of the Trussell Trust briefing report on the use of food banks. You can download their report by clicking HERE.
In our mid-year statistics briefing, which reported on the first six months of the financial year (AprilSeptember 2021), we voiced concerns about a likely increase in need for support from food banks in the next six months. Our data now clearly shows that most of these concerns have been realised and we have seen an overall acceleration of need for emergency food parcels at food banks within the Trussell Trust network since October 2021:
- For the first time outside of the Covid-19 pandemic year (2020/21) food banks in the Trussell Trust network have distributed over 2.1 million food parcels in 2021/22. This represents an 81% increase from the same period five years ago and a 14% increase from 2019-20.
- Food banks in the Trussell Trust network, overall, have experienced an acceleration of need since October 2021. There was a 17% increase in the number of parcels distributed in October-December 2021 compared to the same period in 2019, and a 22% increase from January-February 2022 compared to the same period in 2020.
- These increases have coincided with the removal of the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit (UC), that came into force in October 2021. This reduced the annual income of millions of people by £1,040, further weakening a social security system that was already increasingly threadbare. UK government policies such as below-inflation increases in benefit payments, and a complete freeze on working age benefits in 2016 have consistently reduced the support our social security system provides.
- These increases also reflect the erosion of households’ financial resilience because of the economic crisis and societal disruption caused by the pandemic. This includes the impact of redundancies, reduction to incomes, and the income shocks of moving from employment to social security that many households have experienced. The increase in people claiming UC, seen at the start of the pandemic, has been sustained in this period. The known link between issues with the benefit system and food bank use means that this has increased the population at risk of needing to turn to
food banks to get by.
- These shifts, alongside the gradual weakening of the social security system, have left more people exposed to the impact of the current cost of living crisis. We know that food banks are running out of tools to prevent people from needing long-term support from a food bank in the face of increasing costs and inadequate benefit levels.
- The number of people unable to afford the essentials is likely to increase as inflation and energy prices continue to rise and benefits are not brought in line with these increases in costs. The UK government’s decision to not bring benefit payments in line with the true cost of living, as announced in the Spring Statement on 23 March, will lead to a £11 billion real terms cut in benefits in 2022/23.