Big study into food poverty

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A Sheffield Hallam University study will seek to lay bare the underlying causes of food poverty, as food banks continue to be a vital resource for many struggling families and individuals.

UK anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust has commissioned the major study of the programme it has developed for its own network of food banks.

Researchers in Hallam University’s Regional Economic Social Research will evaluate the Trust’s More than Food programme over the next two years.

With more than 420 food banks across the UK, the programme has grown as a vital response to food poverty in post-austerity Britain, reaching beyond just food provision.

It has received funding from a range of sources, including the Big Lottery Fund and Comic Relief, and its work focuses on four main areas, namely money management, household budgeting and cookery, holiday clubs for families, and tackling fuel poverty.

A report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into hunger in the UK recommended a roll-out of the type of delivery model that The Trussell Trust and food banks were already developing, seeking to address the underlying causes and the symptoms of food poverty ‘by providing advice, skills and advocacy services, as well as food and human friendship, under one roof’.

Chris Dayson, senior research fellow at CRESR, said: “Much research in recent years has highlighted the impact of UK welfare reforms on disadvantaged people and places and explored the impact of voluntary sector-led responses to poverty and austerity.

“The evaluation of the More than Food Programme provides a unique opportunity to investigate the impact of an expanded food bank model on clients, volunteers and the delivery of food banks themselves.”

The evaluation will cover food banks in England.