2,744 People helped by Harlow Foodbank last year


April 2016

  • 1,412 three-day emergency food vouchers/supplies given to local people in crisis from Harlow Foodbank in 2015-16
  • Latest statistics published by Trussell Trust foodbank network show UK-wide foodbank figures for 2015-16 remain at record levels; national need is still not decreasing
  • Early findings in new data analysis of Trussell Trust figures by University of Hull suggests foodbank use highest in areas where many people are unable to work due to illness or disability, are skilled manual workers, or are deprived

2,744 local people have been fed by Harlow Foodbank in the 2015/16 financial year, compared to 3,133 in 2014/15.  Of this number, 1,001 were children.

Bounty Club, which is also part of the Michael Roberts Charitable Trust (MRCT), also provided these referred people with over 10 tonnes of surplus fresh food in 2015/16, alongside their non-perishable food, which may be partly the reason why referral numbers were down during the year as this would have given them up to a seven-day food provision instead of three.

At the Harlow Foodbank, the top three reasons for foodbank referrals were: benefit delays & changes 38%; low income 17% and Domestic Violence 8%.

Over the last year, local people have donated 48 tonnes of food to Harlow Foodbank, and over volunteered. Local schools, businesses and faith groups have provided vital support to the foodbank, enabling us to give three days’ nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis. Local fresh food companies have also been donating food to Harlow Foodbank and the Bounty Club during the year and over 60 tonnes of this food has been distributed by the Bounty Club to front-line professsional agencies, community groups and charities in Harlow.

Harlow Foodbank also works in partnership with Safer Places and Family Mosaic by providing emergency foodboxes to them for their clients.

As well as providing emergency food, Harlow Foodbank provides essentials like toiletries, washing powder, nappies and hygiene products to families who are struggling, as well as signposting them to other services in the local area. Many Trussell Trust foodbanks, including Harlow Foodbank, are partnering with other agencies to provide additional services such as welfare advice, budgeting help and debt support, helping people to break out of crisis.

Harlow Foodbank is also working in partnership with ten local primary school breakfast clubs providing cereals, jarred spreads, fruit juice and bread in support of their work with disadvantaged children from low income families.

Gary Knott, Director of Community Services says:

“Although we have seen a slight decline in people being referred to the foodbank this year we are aware that some front-line agencies have had to reduce their services due to budget cuts or planned closures, which does have an impact on referrals. We have also introduced a fresh food service this year, Bounty Club, which picks up surplus food from local companies and redistributes it back into the community to our foodbank satellite centres, front-line agencies, charities, schools and community groups in support of their work with low income and disadvantaged people and families, which may help to reduce the number of people coming direct to the foodbank for support.”

Foodbank Funding

The running costs for the foodbank are around £50,000 a year, all of which is raised locally to enable them to continue their work. Costs include salaries, warehouse space, to sort and stock donated food, a van to pick up donated food and deliver to distribution centres, and other overheads like utilities and insurances. The foodbank welcomes any new offers of help with funding – local businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the foodbank’s work can find out more at www.mrct.org.uk

New data

For the first time, The Trussell Trust has worked with data scientists, business model specialists and academics to create the UK’s first ever dynamic visualisation tool for crises leading to foodbank use, and to compare foodbank data with deprivation indices from the 2011 census and other open data. Early findings suggest foodbank use is highest in areas where there are more people who are: unable to work due to long term sickness or disability; in skilled work; or deprived. *


McAuley, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust says:

“Today’s figures on national foodbank use prove that the numbers of people hitting a crisis where they cannot afford food are still far too high. One million three-day food supplies given out by our foodbanks every year is one million too many. This many people needing emergency food must not become the new normal. I’m calling on Government, the voluntary sector, businesses and communities to work together to tackle hunger and poverty in the UK. This has to be a society-wide effort.

“Our foodbank network is already playing its part: many foodbanks offer additional services to help people break out of crisis, and if the promising new data science techniques shown in the University of Hull report are developed, we could use them to help tell foodbanks where to target resources and which groups in society are most at risk from hunger.”

Harlow Foodbank

  • Harlow Foodbank has been providing three days’ emergency food and support to local people since April 2009 and have fed a total of 17,360 (11,508 adults & 5,852 children) people.
  • 48 tonnes of non-perishable food were donated by the local community in 2015-16 and distributed to local people in crisis.
  • Harlow Foodbank is part of The Trussell Trust network. Trussell Trust foodbanks provide three days’ nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis in the UK. We also signpost people to other agencies and services able to help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis.
  • The Trussell Trust is a charity motivated by Christian principles that runs the biggest network of foodbanks in the UK. For more on The Trussell Trust visit www.trusselltrust.org

Trussell Trust Foodbank statistics

The Trussell Trust statistics are a measure of volume – they show the number of people to whom The Trussell Trust foodbanks have given three days’ emergency food. These are not necessarily unique users.

Our data system is beginning to capture numbers of unique foodbank users on a national scale, and whilst it is too early to accurately use this figure, detailed evidence collected from a range of foodbanks indicates that on average, people needed 2 foodbank referrals in one year.

The top three reasons for referral to a foodbank include:

  • ‘Benefit delays’ refer to people not receiving benefits to which they are entitled on time, this category can also include problems with processing new claims, or any other time lags in people receiving their welfare payments.
  • ‘Benefit changes’ refers to the problems resulting from a change in people’s welfare payments, for example, people having their benefits stopped whilst they are reassessed. This can also include a sanction.
  • ‘Low income’ refers to anyone who is struggling to get by on a low income. This could be people in work, or people on benefits, for whom a small crisis e.g. boiler breaking down or having to buy school uniform etc, can be enough to mean that they cannot afford food.

*New research by the University of Hull’s ‘New Economic Models in the Digital Economy’ (NEMODE) project:

  • The Trussell Trust has worked with data scientists, business model specialists and academics from the University of Hull and the commercial sector to create the UK’s first ever dynamic visualisation tool for crises leading to foodbank use, and to compare foodbank data with deprivation indices from the 2011 census and other open data.
  • Although currently in early stages of development, this unique platform could allow agencies making crisis interventions to add their own data to open data and foodbank data and track the use of local support services, work out where there is unmet need, and evaluate the root causes and effectiveness of interventions.
  • For more information on what the initial findings of the new research suggests, visit: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/9dnz6sc9bldo5yf/AABVRnCNz_c9cf1uSlAPG_Cua?dl=0