Thousands of food bank workers and volunteers urge the Prime Minister to end the need for their services

Representatives of food banks outside Downing Street. Left to right: Jen Coleman (Black Country Foodbank), Steph Maxwell (Uttlesford Foodbank), Nik Chapman (Charles Burrell Centre), Rajesh Makwana (Sufra), Flora Schweighofer (Southwark Foodbank). Image credit: Jess Hurd

Sufra NW London has signed a joint letter to the PM asking her to take urgent action to end the need for food banks by ensuring everyone has enough income, from work and social security, to buy the essentials.

We are amongst 3,000 volunteers and staff working with food banks, food pantries, food clubs, social supermarkets, soup kitchens and community kitchens to have signed.

The most urgent action the Government must take is to increase benefits in line with inflation as soon as possible. The result will be a reduction in the pressure on people struggling to afford food and the people trying the utmost to provide support.

Our director, Rajesh Makwana BEM, delivered the letter to 10 Downing Street today along with frontline representatives from the Independent Food Aid Network, Feeding Britain and Trussell Trust.

Rajesh Makwana, Director, Sufra (IFAN):

“Demand at our food bank is at unsustainable levels. We don’t have the volunteers, the space, or the income we need to do this at the scale we’re seeing. We are asking the Government to enact policies that ensure everyone has enough income to buy the essential food they and their families need. These are desperate times for millions of ordinary people, and the Government must act now.”

Full text of the letter:

“Dear Prime Minister,

We work and volunteer in many of the thousands of food banks, food pantries, food clubs, social supermarkets, soup kitchens and community kitchens in communities across the UK.

Over the last decade, increasing numbers of people have been pushed to the doors of food banks and other charitable food aid providers because they haven’t got enough money to buy food and other essentials. Since the cut to Universal Credit in October 2021 and the deepening cost of living crisis, the need for charitable food aid has steadily increased, reaching unprecedented levels.

People who were already unable to afford food are being hit the hardest by relentless rises in energy, food, and travel costs. Every day we meet people who are skipping meals so they can feed their children and turning off their cooker or fridge so they can cover other essential costs. People who used to donate to food banks are now needing to seek our support. And the next 12 months look bleaker still.

Many of our teams are struggling to cope as demand for our support outstrips our food and financial donations and we are forced to make difficult decisions about how we operate. We are overstretched and exhausted. Many of our organisations are at breaking point.

No-one should have to turn to charity to feed themselves and their families.

You have the power to reduce the need for our services.

As our new Prime Minister, we call on you to take urgent action to end the need for charitable food aid by ensuring everyone has enough income, from work and social security, to buy the essentials.

Yours sincerely”

About Sufra NW London:

  • Sufra NW London is a local charity established in 2013, on St. Raphael’s Estate, to address both the causes and consequences of impoverishment in the community.
  • We provide food aid, welfare advice and training to people in crisis, whilst working with the wider community to campaign for an end to poverty.
  • We are currently providing food aid to 700 people a week within Brent borough.

About the Independent Food Aid Network:

  • The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) supports and advocates on behalf of charitable food aid providers operating across the UK including over 550 independent food banks.
  • IFAN’s vision is of a country without the need for charitable food aid where adequate and nutritious food is affordable to all. IFAN calls for a cash first approach to food insecurity –
  • IFAN’s latest October survey found that 82% of organisations reported being impacted by supply issues since July 2022 with nearly 1 in 4 needing to reduce the size of their food parcels –

For press and media coverage, please see below:

Food banks warn Liz Truss they are at ‘breaking point’ – The Big Issue
UK food banks at breaking point urge Liz Truss to boost aid to poorest | Food banks | The Guardian

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