The following case studies illustrate the breadth and depth of our partnerships and represent just a small sample of a diverse and varied programme of funding.
The Trussell Trust Foodbank Network
The Trussell Trust is here to end hunger in the UK – we know it can be done, but we won’t be able to get there on our own. That’s why having a long-term relationship with a funder like the Pears Foundation is so valuable. It has been particularly helpful that a large part of their funding has been unrestricted – giving us flexibility to build our capacity and resilience, so we’re able to properly to support a network of food banks that is providing nearly twice as many food bank parcels as it was five years ago. The Pears Foundation’s approach is unique, and has been crucial for us, and our network, in being able to respond to that increase while working towards a future where help is no longer needed.Emma Revie, Chief Executive
The Trussell Trust
It's difficult to accept that there are families anywhere in the world who can't be sure of their next meal; the fact that these families are right here in Britain, in our own community, is unthinkable. Faith groups have a long tradition of supporting the most vulnerable in their community. The Trussell Trust has a tried and tested model for training volunteers, establishing a network of referral agencies and meeting the many logistical challenges involved in operating a foodbank. We see foodbanks as an excellent example of how to mobilise local community support to meet one of the most fundamental of needs.Sir Trevor Pears CMG
14 million people live below the poverty line in Britain today, including 4 million children. Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income.
Pears Foundation’s partnership with the Trussell Trust Foodbank Network dates back to 2007, when the Network was just being established as a social franchise and the economic climate was very different. The Trussell Trust now operates the largest network of UK foodbanks, which provide three days’ emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis. In 2019-20, before Covid-19 struck, the Trussell Trust’s network distributed a record 1.9 million emergency food bank parcels, an 18% increase on the previous year. More than 700,000 of these went to children.
In the last two weeks of March, as the pandemic hit, food banks saw an 81% increase in need. They also had to quickly adapt to lockdown, food shortages and social distancing rules. In a few short weeks the Trussell Trust successfully changed their entire operation, with the bulk of food donated by the food industry. Between April 2020 and March 2021, the number of food parcels distributed by the Trust’s Network topped 2 million for the first time, at over 2.5 million food parcels distributed. More than 980,000 of these went to children, a 36% rise compared with 2019/20. This increase is on top of the unprecedented number of people provided with emergency food by mutual aid groups and other community based initiatives during the pandemic.
The Trussell Trust partners with churches and communities to run foodbanks nationwide. All food is donated by the public or by the food industry, and sorted by volunteers. Frontline care professionals such as doctors and social workers identify people in crisis and issue a food voucher, in exchange for which clients receive three days’ worth of nutritionally balanced, non- perishable food. As well as providing food, volunteers are trained to identify any long term problems and signpost people to agencies locally who can help .
Some foodbanks also run a rural delivery service, taking emergency food parcels to clients who cannot afford to get to their nearest foodbank.
Pears Foundation has provided core funding to the Trussell Trust Foodbank Network since 2007. This support, with crucial operating costs, has helped them build capacity and provide consistency in the standards of development and training across the expanding network.
Increasingly, foodbanks are offering additional services, from cookery courses to connecting clients with agencies that are looking at ways to address the underlying causes of financial crises and food insecurity and help them break the cycle of poverty. The Foundation also supported a pilot advice project in Tower Hamlets Foodbank (an independent foodbank run by the First Love Foundation) in partnership with the Child Poverty Action Group which led to more clients obtaining their correct entitlements and gaining a better understanding of the support that is available for them.
In February 2020 Pears Foundation agreed a £1 million grant to enable roll out of the Trussell Trust’s new Income Maximisation strategy, which builds on learning from the Tower Hamlets pilot. While delivery has been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trussell Trust and Pears Foundation remain committed to the Income Maximisation strategy and its long-term aim of reducing the need for food banks.