The Trussell Trust food bank

Source: The Trussell Trust/Chris Lacey Photography

The charity said there had been a 38% increase in people needing support for the first time

More than 760,000 people used a leading charity’s food bank for the first time in the past year, as the cost of living crisis sees an “unprecedented” rise in food poverty.

Figures from the Trussell Trust released today reveal it provided almost three million emergency food parcels to people facing hardship between April 2022 and March 2023, with more than a million of them for children.

It is the most parcels food banks in the charity’s UK-wide network have ever distributed in a single year and represents a 37% increase on last year.

Meanwhile, the charity said there was a 38% increase in people needing the support for the first time, with a parcel being distributed by staff and volunteers across the country every eight seconds.

“These new statistics are extremely concerning and show that an increasing number of people are being left with no option but to turn to charitable, volunteer-run organisations to get by and this is not right,” said Trussell Trust CEO Emma Revie.

“The continued increase in parcel numbers over the last five years indicates that it is ongoing low levels of income and a social security system that isn’t fit for purpose that are forcing more people to need food banks, rather than just the recent cost of living crisis or the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Food banks were set up to provide short-term support to people in an emergency, they are not a lasting solution to hunger and poverty, and more than three quarters of the UK population agree with us that they should not need to exist.”

Meanwhile London’s biggest food redistribution charity, The Felix Project, has announced it is urgently looking for new suppliers to donate their surplus food.

It follows the charity receiving financial support from the Mayor of London to extend its operations over weekends.

The charity said it needed an extra 50 tonnes of food to meet the commitment, which it said would allow it to add 100 new organisations to the 1,000 it already serves.

“We urgently need more support and to get new suppliers on board,” said Shane Dorsett, director of operations at the charity.

“In 2022 The Felix Project rescued more than 12,000 tonnes of food, but that was only enough to supply those already signed up – to cut the waiting list and deliver on Saturday we need more food coming in throughout the week. It’s vital all those in the food industry know we are here, can take their surplus food and redistribute it to those in desperate need.”