Today we released Ingredients for Action, a report which provides new data about the extent of food poverty in Britain.
The findings paint a troubling picture of the scale of this problem. One in 50 (2%) British adults said they used a food bank during 2016, according to the survey of 2,048 adults conducted for Church Urban Fund by ComRes earlier this year. This amounts to nearly a million adults (0.95 million) across Britain.
The survey also tells us that people’s experiences of food poverty extend far beyond food bank use itself. 5% of respondents said that during 2016 they had gone without meals as they were unable to afford food, and one in eight adults said they had experienced anxiety or worry about being able to afford enough food for themselves and their family. The figures pose a strong challenge to the notion that growth in food banks has been supply-led, and suggest that much more needs to be done to ensure that in a relatively affluent society no-one is unable to put food on the table for themselves and their families.
CUF’s Together Network supports a wide range of work on this issue. Heather Black blogged for us recently about the Feast of Fun holiday clubs in Middlesbrough and Cleveland, which provide food, fun and friendship for around 800 children and their families. Along with other Together Network members, she used her community-based experience to help inform the recent APPG Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom.
Churches, charities and community groups across the country are doing a huge amount to support people in local communities who are struggling to afford food and other essentials. However, addressing the key causes of food poverty - low incomes, insecure employment conditions and delays and other problems with benefits payments - requires a concerted and urgent cross-sectoral response, involving action from government and employers too.
You can read more in our report, which explores how being relational, encouraging participation, and seeking justice can help shape and inform our responses to food poverty both at a local level and in terms of our social structures and public policy.
Full data tables are available at: www.comresglobal.com