Impact of national support programme in foodbanks to be evaluated

5th September 2016

A UK anti-poverty charity has commissioned a major study of the support programme it has developed for its network of foodbanks to address the underlying causes of food poverty.

Sheffield Hallam University's Centre for Regional Economic Social Research (CRESR) will evaluate the 'More than Food' programme over the next two years on behalf of The Trussell Trust. The work of The Trussell Trust, which runs a network of over 420 foodbanks across the UK, has grown in size and prominence as a response to food poverty in post-austerity Britain. The More Than Food Programme was developed to offer support to clients beyond emergency food provision with the aim of addressing the underlying causes of food poverty and creating a preventative solution to crises within a single community hub. The programme, which has received funding from a range of sources, including the Big Lottery Fund and Comic Relief, currently focuses on four main areas: Money management Household budgeting and cookery Holiday clubs for families Tackling fuel poverty. The More Than Food Programme was endorsed in Feeding Britain - the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into hunger in the UK. The report recommended a formal roll-out of a 'one stop shop' model of delivery The Trussell Trust and foodbanks were already developing around the UK, seeking to address the underlying causes and the symptoms of food poverty 'by providing advice, skills and advocacy services, as well as food and human friendship, under one roof'. Chris Dayson, senior research fellow at CRESR, said: "Much of CRESR's research in recent years has highlighted the impact of UK welfare reforms on disadvantaged people and places and explored the impact of voluntary sector-led responses to poverty and austerity. "Food aid providers are uniquely placed as a first port of call for people experiencing the worst effects of poverty and austerity and who might not otherwise engage with more mainstream services. "The evaluation of the More than Food Programme provides a unique opportunity to investigate the impact of an expanded foodbank model on clients, volunteers and the delivery of foodbanks themselves." The evaluation will cover foodbanks in England which currently offer elements of the More than Food Programme - with The Trussell Trust currently planning to have 50 foodbanks offering at least one element of the Programme by 1 April 2017 and a further 80 foodbanks by 1 April 2018. Adrian Curtis, Foodbank Network Director at The Trussell Trust said: "Foodbanks across the country make sure that when someone hits rock bottom, there is a place to turn. The emergency nature of a referral combined with the welcoming supportive atmosphere of a foodbank means our network is well-placed to work with people to address the underlying causes of poverty when that extra support is most needed. CRESR will be supported in the delivery of the research by survey company Qa Research.

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