Data

General Issues
Social Welfare
Health
Human Rights & Civil Rights
Specific Topics
Food Assistance
Food & Nutrition
Collections
University of Southampton Students
Location
United Kingdom
Scope of Influence
National
Ongoing
No
Purpose/Goal
Deliver goods & services
Approach
Civil society building
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Limited to Only Some Groups or Individuals
Targeted Demographics
Low-Income Earners
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
Yes
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Face-to-Face
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Informal Social Activities
Information & Learning Resources
Not Relevant to this Type of Initiative
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Traditional Media
Type of Organizer/Manager
Non-Governmental Organization
Type of Funder
For-Profit Business
Individual
Non-Governmental Organization
Staff
No
Volunteers
No

CASE

The Trussel Trust ‘More Than Food’ Programme (England)

General Issues
Social Welfare
Health
Human Rights & Civil Rights
Specific Topics
Food Assistance
Food & Nutrition
Collections
University of Southampton Students
Location
United Kingdom
Scope of Influence
National
Ongoing
No
Purpose/Goal
Deliver goods & services
Approach
Civil society building
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Limited to Only Some Groups or Individuals
Targeted Demographics
Low-Income Earners
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
Yes
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Face-to-Face
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Informal Social Activities
Information & Learning Resources
Not Relevant to this Type of Initiative
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Traditional Media
Type of Organizer/Manager
Non-Governmental Organization
Type of Funder
For-Profit Business
Individual
Non-Governmental Organization
Staff
No
Volunteers
No

The MTF programme recognizes poverty as a complex social problem. Beginning in 2014, the initiative supports people in a variety of ways including money management, basic cooking and nutrition skills, and holiday clubs for children.

Problems and Purpose

The More than Food Programme was initiated by the Trussel Trust as a means to alleviate poverty and to combat the many drivers of food insecurity. The initiative works closely with established food banks to develop and increase their services beyond the provision of food. The programme seeks to establish a series of community hubs offering those in positions of need with a variety of services and support measures. To realize this, the program encourages non-profits, volunteers, and community members to work collectively.

Background History and Context 

The UK has a history of high levels of relative poverty for a European nation: as of 2014, 6.5% of the population were suffering from persistent poverty.[1] It is proclaimed “that over 500,000 people in the UK are now reliant on food parcels”, with over 2 million being classed as malnourished[2]. Volunteering initiatives, such as food banks and subsequent programmes produced, “have occurred within a context of economic crisis, recession, public finance austerity and welfare reform, all of which are impacting on people’s economic security and ability to eat well”[3]. Along with increasing benefit delays, the Trussell Trust asserts that a key reason for the upsurge in foodbank requirements is due to the Universal Credit system of benefit distribution, which – in turn – is reducing people’s income. Garry Lemon, Head of Media and External Affairs said that there are: “significant barriers that still need to be addressed to prevent people affected by Universal Credit issues from needing a foodbank.”[4]

The Trussel Trust – founded by Paddy and Carol Henderson – is Britain’s largest food bank network and originated in Salisbury 20 years ago. The trust provided 1,182,954 people with three-day emergency food supplies in 2016 nationally and this was comprised of 103,947 in the South West of England alone.[5] The trust receives considerable amounts of its funding from a few main supporters: Comic Relief, Pears Foundation, The Tudortrust, The Innocent Foundation and The Big Lottery Fund[6]. The trust set up the MTF programme and began to run pilot programmes in 2014 to support people in a range of ways; this included money management, basic cookery and nutrition skills, holiday clubs for children and helping tackle fuel poverty.

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

The creators of the MTF programme were the Trussel Trust organisation, which receives funding in various ways. Any member of the population has the option to donate to the Trust. People can make a one-off food donation, monetary donations or they can make regular donations in the form of payroll pay from their earnings; these earnings do not get taxed. People can also donate goods to the trust’s charity shops and can leave legacies for the programme in their wills. Rebecca Gollop, manager of the Trussel Trust in Winton, Bournemouth, stated that “the trust is continually working to obtain investment from organisations after the record usage of food banks in the summer of 2017.”[7]

As stated, the MTF programme has received sizeable donations from a number of large organisations. A £500,000 donation from “Martin Lewis will allow the Trussell Trust, to roll out its ground breaking ‘financial triage, debt and money advice’ to 30 foodbanks across the UK, helping thousands of people.”[8] Further, the Big Lottery Fund donated £748,423 in 2015. The Trussel Trust CEO David Mcauley stated “increasingly, Trussell Trust foodbanks are able to provide additional support services to help resolve some the underlying causes of foodbank use”[9] because of the increased financial support.

Participant Recruitment and Selection

The process of receiving support from the Trussel Trust foundation is a two-way participation process. A person is required to either seek help from an agency or governing body such as a doctor, health visitors, citizen’s advice and social workers. Once a person has been referred, the concomitant agency and the foodbank volunteers then gather information pertaining to the vouchers and assistance a person is allowed. The person will then be issued with a foodbank voucher which they can then exchange for a food parcel at their local bank as well as the parts of the MTF programme they are able to use. Empowerment is given to the frontline professionals who work with the foodbanks, as well as the volunteers who support and advise the people requiring help.

The ability for people to attend foodbanks and participate in the MTF programme increases the social inclusion in society as those who need assistance feel valued and supported by the community. Susan – a mother of five – attended a Holiday Club organised by her local foodbank. They offered her children fun activities and educational opportunities allowing Susan to still work outside of school term time. The club also provided Susan’s children with hot meals, thus relieving her of some of the pressure associated with preparing, providing and cooking meals for the six of them.[10] The trust will be able to support more families like Susan’s across their 26 food banks in the South West as they receive more funding to invest in the MTF programme.

Methods and Tools Used

The nature of participation changes over time as a person goes from receiving just food parcels from the trust to using one of the many alternative courses offered as part of the programme. Judith signed herself up for the ‘Eat Well Spend Less’ course; this consisted of six sessions designed to enable healthier cooking on a budget. Judith stated that “I am making big savings and I am using the money to pay off some of my other debts.” [11]

What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

The programme has been successful in engaging the wider public as some beneficiaries of the programme have now began to volunteer at the trust. Louai and his family, who are from Salisbury in Wiltshire, received support from the Salisbury foodbank in June 2016. He said that volunteering at the Trusts Furniture Restoration and Upcycling project in Salisbury gave him a ‘purpose again’ after being transferred from Jordan with his family due to his son’s medical treatment requirements[12]. Public engagement is also displayed by the vast number of volunteers that help run the MTF programme and the foodbanks, with the trust currently having over 30,000 volunteers. The wider public are pivotal to the running of the programme, with 90% of the current workforce being volunteers, who over the course of the week spent, on average, 55,945 hours in the UK running the MTF programme. [13].

The trust also tries to engage the public through the use of social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter Whilst also distributing leaflets and booklets to individuals who visit a Trussel Trust food bank or charity store. These leaflets provide insight on all of the potential benefits of the MTF programme and explain how people can seek the help that they require. The leaflets also aim to create discussion about the programme so that more people obtain the help which is free to them.

The trust has looked to advisory bodies to monitor and evaluate the MTF programme. The All-Party Parliamentary inquiry into hunger in the UK was carried out in March 2015, which analysed the pilot of the MTF programme. They stated that “these pilots be extended across The Trussell Trust network so as to tackle some of the more deep - seated causes of hunger, beyond the immediate crisis, and be adopted, wherever possible, by the network of independent food banks.”[14] In addition, Feeding Britain, a charity set up by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger proposed that “some of the financial donation added by Tesco as a 30% supplement to national collections for the Trussell Trust be invested in vouchers for people using food banks.”[15]

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

The ongoing success of the programme is presented most effectively by narratives of those who have benefited from it. Without the provision of the MTF programme there is an increased risk that those requiring support would be further distanced from society and less likely to obtain the provisions they require. Judith signed up to and gained from the trusts ‘Eat Well Spend Less’ course at her local food bank, which consisted of six sessions on how to cut down on food spending. Judith stated, “I am making big savings and I am using the money I am saving to pay off some of my other debts.”[16] In addition, Richard – from New Milton in South West Hampshire – stated “the volunteers were fantastic, offering a chat and a shoulder to cry on. I suffer from depression as well and without the foodbank I don’t think I would be here today.”[17] It is evident that the programme is successfully inspiring people to seek the help that they require and will – as time goes on – continue to do so as long as the funding and volunteering continues.

The programme is effectively creating a more equitable society, which is helping ameliorate the issue of political involvement amongst the poorest in society. In one foodbank, after two months, over 90 percent of clients who had received advice had either resolved their issues or were close to having done so[18]. Without the opportunities and support provided by the MTF programme, many would be more susceptible to feeling excluded from society and may in turn struggle to commit to democracy and the welfare state. This growth in participation – as a result of people finding solutions to their problems through the use of MTF programmes – increases the political power of the society: “citizen participation is a categorical term for citizen power”[19].

Analysis and Lessons Learned 

Paul Hirst claims in his theory ‘associative democracy’ that new forms of voluntary economic and social governance, such as food bank programmes, are needed to support the democratic government.[20] Overall, the Trussel Trust and its MTF programme are highly supported and the work that its volunteers and employees do is praised by those who have received assistance and by the media. Heidi Allen, a Conservative Party politician, expressed her support for the need for food bank programmes, stating “the foodbank is run by kind, dedicated volunteers who try their very hardest to help with the many issues that bring someone to a foodbank.”[21] Although the government does not provide direct tangible support to the Trussel Trust and its programmes, some local councils are recognising the importance of food banks and have helped fund the trust: “a third of all councils in England and Wales said they had subsidised food banks.”[22]

The MTF programme in the South West of the UK is part of a broader process and the continuous success and support that it receives needs to continue. Adrian Curtis, network director at the Trussel Trust insists that the trust “would like to see politicians and policymakers listen and look at the findings of an independent study”[23] in order to “develop policies that work better for people who experience poverty and short-term crises.”[24] Further, Rebecca Gollop said that there is a lack of public knowledge of the vast opportunities offered by the MTF programme and stated that “the ins and outs of how much work the MTF programme offers should be more in the lime light”.[25] It is clear that the programme is still evolving and needs to increase its funding in order to cope with the increasing demand, especially with the winter period ahead, where more people are likely to require support.

In order for the programme to continue growing in size, it is vital that the trust obtains advertisement, potentially in the form of televisions adverts or advertisement boards. An increase in advertisement of the various opportunities the programme offers to people would hopefully lead to an increase in donations and volunteers and also allow those who require help to understand how they can receive it. The trusts in the South West could use a Local Development Programme (LDC) to provide targets for how the programme and community can progress in the future in order to provide more people with assistance. This programme should advise how to redistribute power to enable those currently excluded from politics to be included in the future, which is one of the main concepts in Arnstein’s theory of citizen participation[26]. Gollop stated that the board of the trust are meeting with government ministers to share issues with the current process of charitable funding in relation to the MTF programme and to suggest and seek improvement opportunities for all 428 of their foodbanks.[27]

The MTF programme is providing social involvement for those who are currently alienated from society; it is giving them a voice again. It is vital that everybody in society has the opportunities to survive and be politically educated and engaged in decisions and thus, included in democracy.

See Also

References

[1] Wells, C. (2016). Persistent Poverty in the UK and EU - Office for National Statistics. [online] Ons.gov.uk. Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/personalandhousehold... [Accessed 8 Nov. 2017].

[2] Policy & Practice. (2017). Food poverty | Oxfam Policy & Practice. [online] Available at: http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/our-work/inequality/food-poverty [Accessed 30 Oct. 2017].

[3] Lambie-Mumford, H. (2015). Addressing Food Poverty in the UK: Charity, Rights and Welfare.

[4] Lemon, G. (2017). Our response: Universal Credit helpline will be free by the end of the month - The Trussell Trust. [online] The Trussell Trust. Available at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/2017/10/18/response-universal-credit-helpl... [Accessed 6 Nov. 2017].

[5] The Trussell Trust (2017). End of Year Stats. [online] The Trussell Trust. Available at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/end-year-stats/ [Accessed 8 Nov. 2017].

[6] The Trussel Trust. (2017). Funding Partners – The Trussell Trust. [online] Available at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-involved/funding-partners/[Accessed 30 Oct. 2017]

[7] Rebecca Gollop. Manager of the Trussel Trust in Winton, Bournemouth. 4th November 2017. Personal Communication.

[8] May, A. (2015). [online] Trusselltrust.org. Available at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/11/Financi... [Accessed 4 Nov. 2017].

[9] Big Lottery Fund. (2015). [online] Available at: https://biglotteryfund.org.uk/global-content/press-releases/england/0812... [Accessed 4 Nov. 2017].

[10] The Trussell Trust (2017). Susan's Story. [online] The Trussell Trust. Available at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/what-we-do/real-stories/susan/ [Accessed 9 Nov. 2017].

[11] The Trussell Trust (2017). Judith's Story - The Trussell Trust. [online] The Trussell Trust. Available at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/what-we-do/real-stories/judith/ [Accessed 8 Nov. 2017]. [BROKEN LINK]

[12] The Trussel Trust (2017). 20 Years 20 Stories. [online] The Trussell Trust. Available at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/what-we-do/20-years-20-stories/louai/ [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. [BROKEN LINK]

[13] The Trussel Trust (2017). Volunteers across the UK giving ‘at least £30 million’ a year in unpaid work to support foodbanks - The Trussell Trust. [online] The Trussell Trust. Available at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/2017/10/17/foodbank-volunteers-30-million-... [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017].

[14] All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty, A. (2015). Feeding Britain. The first 100 days, p.6.

[15] All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty, A. (2015). Feeding Britain. The first 100 days

[16] The Trussell Trust (2017). Judith's Story - The Trussell Trust. [online] The Trussell Trust. Available at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/what-we-do/real-stories/judith/ [Accessed 8 Nov. 2017].

[17] The Trussell Trust (2017). Richard's Story. [online] The Trussell Trust. Available at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/what-we-do/real-stories/richard/ [Accessed 8 Nov. 2017].

[18] The Trussel Trust (2015). UK FOODBANK USE STILL AT RECORD LEVELS AS HUNGER REMAINS MAJOR CONCERN FOR LOW INCOME FAMILIES. [online] Trusselltrust.org. Available at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/06/Foodban... [Accessed 7 Nov. 2017].

[19] R.Arnstein, S. (2010). A Ladder of Citizen Participation. Journal of the American Planning Association.

[20] Hirst, P. (2013). Associative Democracy. Hoboken: Wiley.

[21] Allen, H. (2017). Heidi Allen's notes for January 2017. [online] South Cambridgeshire. Available at: https://www.southcambridgeshireconservatives.org.uk/news/heidi-allens-no... [Accessed 7 Nov. 2017].

[22] BBC (2014). Councils spend £3m on food poverty. [online] BBC News. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26369558 [Accessed 7 Nov. 2017].

[23] Curtis, A. (2014). Funding for food banks. [online] Publicsectorexecutive.com. Available at: http://www.publicsectorexecutive.com/Public-Sector-News/funding-for-food... [Accessed 7 Nov. 2017].

[24] Haddad, M. (2014). Interview: Adrian Curtis. [online] Cpag.org.uk. Available at: http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/CPAG-Poverty-Adrian-Curtis-in... [Accessed 7 Nov. 2017].

[25] Rebecca Gollop. Manager of the Trussel Trust in Winton, Bournemouth. 4th November 2017. Personal Communication.

[26] Arnstein, S.R. (1969), A Ladder of Citizen Participation. Journal of the American Planning Association, P.216–224.

[27] Rebecca Gollop. Manager of the Trussel Trust in Winton, Bournemouth. 4th November 2017. Personal Communication.

External Links 

Official Website https://www.trusselltrust.org/what-we-do/more-than-food/

Notes