In partnership with the Trussell Trust, the Cadent Foundation are supporting food banks in the North West to deliver increased specialist advice to people facing poverty in their communities.
Between April 2020 and April 2021, Trussell Trust food banks in the North West delivered 313,015 parcels as they saw a 23% rise in need for their services on the previous year. Whilst people referred to food banks can be dealing with a vast variety of issues, the fundamental problem common to all is simple: a lack of money to buy the absolute essentials we all need to live, like food, clothes, heating, and safe accommodation. With poverty surging in the UK, it has never been more important to look at how we can better protect people from falling into extreme poverty, particularly, how the private, public and third sectors can collaborate to intervene earlier, and make specialist support more accessible to everyone.
Supporting the Trussell Trust’s mission to end the need for food banks, the Cadent Foundation has formed a new three-year, £1.5m strategic partnership with the charity, aimed at increasing low incomes through providing access to financial advice. The funding provides local grants to food banks via the Trussell Trusts Together for Change grants programme, as well as supporting the national Help through Hardship helpline, which was developed in 2020 in collaboration with Citizens Advice.
Neal Southwick, Head of Financial Inclusion at the Trussell Trust, said: “A huge number of people are experiencing financial crisis, unable to access the right support, and often ill equipped to navigate complex issues and systems. Cadent’s support is crucial, enabling us to seize the opportunity to help develop both local and national services that support a range of complex circumstances. Everyone’s experience of poverty is different, and it’s vital that people receive tailored, dignified support. New income maximisation and debt advice services will offer practical support to navigate our social security system as well as looking at managing debt, with the hope that through increasing income, people won’t need to use a foodbank again in the future. In partnership with our food banks, we are increasing support at the point of crisis as well as working to push support upstream, to prevent people facing the levels of poverty that we have seen rise over the past five years.”
Nathan* was one of the people who accessed the helpline. He said: “I was furloughed during the pandemic and the reduced income meant that I couldn’t afford food and bills so I fell into credit card debt. I called the helpline and they issued a food voucher for my local foodbank as well doing a full exploration of my debts. Thanks to the adviser’s help I now receive a warm home discount of £140 per month. I have been back to work on a part-time basis, but my income is still lower than usual. I called the helpline again for food support, and they explained about discretionary housing payments from my local council which I am in the process of applying for.”
Julia Dwyer, Director of the Cadent Foundation, 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. 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, it 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.”
The Cadent Foundation is funded by local gas network Cadent and has been established to support projects that help people living in vulnerable situations and disadvantaged communities. More information can be found at www.cadentfoundation.com