Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group, has announced a new partnership with the Trussell Trust to provide emergency food to residents in need.
Clarion staff have been able to refer residents to food banks for some time, but this new approach enables Clarion Futures staff to issue electronic vouchers for use at one of the Trussell Trust’s nationwide network of food banks, streamlining the referral process and enabling people in need to receive emergency food more quickly.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network provided a record 2.5 million emergency food parcels to people in crisis. This is a shocking 33% increase in need on the previous year, and almost a million of these parcels went to children.
Need at food banks has been increasing year-on-year, and these new figures highlight an alarming 128% rise compared to this time five years ago.
The findings of recent surveys conducted by Clarion to explore the impact of the pandemic on its residents align with this, highlighting the financial issues affecting households. Research conducted during May / June and November / December 2020 found a significant increase in people worried about money issues, with 14% more people reporting concerns in winter compared to the previous summer.
The number of people going without food because they couldn’t afford it rose from 8% in the summer to 11% in the winter and the number of residents using food banks increased from 7% to 12%.
Food banks across the UK, just like the ones in the Trussell Trust’s network, can help to tackle these issues, enabling people to receive emergency relief in times of need. Funding from Clarion Futures has helped support essential food relief projects during the pandemic, with more than £725,000 in grants awarded in 2020/21 to organisations including food banks, community groups and local charities tackling issues such as loneliness and isolation.
Steph Noyce, Head of Money and Digital at Clarion Futures, said:
“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to alleviating poverty. Food banks play a key role in providing emergency support to people in crisis, but it’s not just about putting food on the table – it’s about tackling the underlying issues causing food insecurity.
“Through Clarion Futures, we provide our residents and communities with holistic and personalised support, from access to free debt and money management advice to help in securing paid employment. Working with partners including the Trussell Trust, we’re committed to giving people the support they need not as a handout but as a step towards a more sustainable solution.”
One of the people supported is Danielle who was left struggling when she had to give up her job at the age of just 22 to look after her two young siblings with her partner, Jason. Whilst they waited for her Universal Credit claim to be processed, they had to rely on Jason’s modest income which left them stretched to breaking point. Thanks to the new partnership, Clarion Futures was able to refer Danielle to the Trussell Trust to receive an emergency food parcel to tide them over until she received her benefits, and is now working with her to explore employment opportunities to fit around her parental responsibilities and help her plan for the future.
Samantha Stapley, chief operating officer at the Trussell Trust, said:
“As the impact of the pandemic continues, more people are likely to need a food bank’s help. Food bank teams are working tirelessly to ensure help continues to be available. But ultimately, no one in the UK should need a food bank – all of us should have enough money for the essentials. The support of Clarion Futures will help people in crisis access the lifeline of emergency support today, while we work in the long term to build a hunger free future.”