A major report into destitution highlights importance of social supermarkets and food banks in tackling deprivation.
St Giles Trust welcomes the report issued by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation today ‘Destitution in the UK’. It has highlighted the growing number of families in extreme poverty and destitution which is a trend also seen in St Giles Trust’s work
Around 1.8 million households were destitute in the UK at some point over the course of 2022, with these households containing around 3.8 million people, of whom around a million were children, according to the JRF. The overall increase in households in destitution is a striking 64% (compared with 35% in 2019).
The report highlights a lack of food as the key issue in households, with the most important in-kind support being offered by food banks and social supermarkets. .
Charity St Giles Trust has been helping families across England and Wales access affordable, healthy, nutritious food and benefit from advice and guidance services to address underlying issues such as debt and unemployment. These typically are factors which may be trapping people in poverty.
It is part of a UK-wide network of Pantries run by St Giles Trust who help people held back by a range of disadvantages positively progress their lives through support and services. The cost-of-living crisis is having a disproportionate effect on people who were already experiencing adversity and hardship.
For a weekly subscription of £3.50, people using St Giles Trust Pantries can choose their food in the same way they would in any supermarket shop. The produce includes healthy choices such as fresh fruit, vegetables, cereals and diary – all items which many people are struggling to access during a time of cost increases for essentials.
The food is quality surplus food which would have otherwise gone to landfill. People benefit from advice and support from specially trained on-site staff, some of whom have direct experience of the issues people using the Pantry are currently going through.
Norwich mum of three, Sam Walker, is supported by the Pantry in Norwich and says:
“Balancing financing is mentally draining. You don’t know where to put your money, you don’t know what to do. You don’t know what comes first, you’re in a pickle all the time – and I’m not the only one, there are so many people out there. I’m so grateful to the Pantry and St Giles for their support for us”.