The Destitution Report is an important step towards understanding the severe impact of poverty in the UK, but we could do much more to identify the scale of the problem and to progress in tackling it.
Today the Trussell Trust reveals its foodbank network provided more than one million three-day food supplies to people in crisis in the last year - even more than the previous year, and the year before that, and the year before that... It's so important because behind these statistics are individual people like you and me, who never dreamt they would one day need to be referred to their local foodbank. Only when we openly and honestly engage with the reasons one million food parcels were needed last year, can we possibly move nearer to finding solutions.
Whilst the average child in the UK receives 8.8 Easter eggs, and one in five reportedly make themselves sick on chocolate over Easter, there are thousands of children in poverty across the UK who face having nothing at all. Thankfully, for the last few weeks, food banks across the UK have seen so many local heroes come forward to help children in poverty to have a happier Easter.
Our role at the foodbank is simply to serve - to provide food and support, and to be a listening ear at a time of crisis. Many of our volunteers are mothers - with children from newborn to adult. They understand the role of mothers, both the privilege and the burden that comes with it.
In the last month my team and I have referred about the same number of people to the foodbank for assistance as we did in the ten months before that... The sheer scale of the operation these days is both astonishing and impressive. The fact that it has to be so big, though, underlines that something is fundamentally wrong with the way Britain operates at the moment.
"For the past few days I haven't been to the street begging for money to buy food for me and my baby..." This was what a mother at Brent Foodbank told us recently. She was on the streets begging with her two year old baby when she was referred to our foodbank for help.
I like to be optimistic and would like to think that we won't have York Foodbank in another three years, simply because there will no longer be a need for it. For that to happen we must listen to the experiences of the people that we see. We must support people and help them out of crisis, but we must also identify what is driving people into Foodbanks, then advocate for change.
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As we digest the results of the budget today, the words seem as good a test to judge it by as any. To be true to the One Nation ideal the budget must answer a simple question those of us in the foodbanks movement ponder every day. What can be done to reduce the number of people in poverty and hunger?
I set up just over a year ago a cross-party inquiry with two objectives: first, to try and find out why so many people - some 600,000 across Britain - have to rely on their local food bank to stave off hunger; and second, to come up with some solutions which might begin to ameliorate their circumstances.
We know that our customers expect the very best from us. As retailers we're expected to lead the way when it comes to matters of nutrition, sourcing and sustainability - and that's right. Right now, supply chain donation is a pioneering approach. Hopefully it won't be another twenty years before we see the industry following suit.
Two years on and we find ourselves further burdened by cuts and now reeling from the impact of a Tory government, Conned once again by our broken electoral system. So what's the alternative? We organise. We march. We stand.
Politics of fear and hate cannot survive long in the hearts of those who have love and hope. Do not let this election divide and conquer. Unite and survive.
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With less than two weeks until election day, the increasing prevalence of poverty in the UK is something everyone should reflect on and consider. This election is so important because, in many ways, the fundamental question facing voters is what kind of society we want to be.