• Join Us

    Become a member of the national network for independent food aid providers


    Membership is open to all independent food aid providers that share our vision, values and principles.

    Click on the button below to complete a short registration form.

    Member Map

    Our members come from all over the UK and are providing food aid to people in their communities in a variety of ways.

    Click on the button below to view an up-to-date member map.

  • Why join?

    • Be part of a movement IFAN wants to see the end to the need for food aid. We aim to be a loud voice in the call for policies that will help realise this aim and your membership will increase our impact.
    • Practical support We will support the sharing of resources between members as well as sharing helpful resources from outside the network. Plans also include arranging visits to projects of interest. We’ll also make it easy for you to talk to other members.

    • Have your say IFAN is a member of the UK Food Poverty Alliance. As the only member of the alliance that represents independent food aid providers we will use our involvement to speak on your behalf.

    • Steer IFAN We will be around for as long as we’re needed. As a grassroots network we want to be shaped by our members. Our steering group is made up of people who coordinate projects just like yours and, as an IFAN member, we pledge to consult you every step of the way

    • Come together You will have access to regular events so that you can share ideas, learn from others and hear from interesting speakers

    • Stay in the know We will keep our finger on the pulse of everything happening across the world that we think members will be interested in learning about, from policy developments to best practice. We’ll also highlight examples of great things going on within the network.
    Interested? Join now

  • About

    IFAN is a network of independent, grassroots food aid providers working together to ensure food security for all. There are hundreds of food aid providers across the UK that have no national representation and we believe that by bringing them together we can can create a powerful voice for change.


    A group of people involved in local food aid provision have come together following an event held in Manchester in March 2016. This event brought together 40 food aid providers to find out what they wanted from a new UK network.


    The event was very successful and led to the inaugural steering group meeting of IFAN in May 2016. This group is made up of people directly involved in food aid at a local level, none of whom represent any national organisations.


    After drafting a set of aims for the network, a survey was sent to food aid providers to get their views, enabling us to launch the network with a vision, aims, values and principles that we know truly represents those of our members.


    Any questions? Read our FAQs below or contact us directly.

  • Vision


    IFAN envisions a UK where everyone can eat good food and food aid is no longer necessary.



    We will do this by:

    • Connecting members to each other - Independent food aid providers of all kinds will be better connected to each other.  
    • Connecting members to knowledge - An established member network will enable us to provide a variety of learning opportunities, support current research and shape future research. This will result in our members and the entire sector being more informed, leading to an increase in the quality of grassroots services and strengthening advocacy efforts.
    • Connecting members to advocates - We will support organisations targeting national policy change to alleviate poverty. To do this we will encourage members to take on advocacy roles, as well as link our members to relevant advocacy organisations.


    While working to achieve our objectives we will:

    • Be critical creative and experimental - Members of IFAN are encouraged to explore new and creative ways to identify and address problems of food poverty and the deep personal and societal changes which may be necessary to achieve food security. Responses to food poverty must aim to transform the situation, not perpetuate the problem, and IFAN expects its members to explore and to encourage different ways of working and to have an open, inclusive, learning attitude that questions accepted ways of doing things.
    • Generate a culture of openness and respect for difference - Members of IFAN must be open to and respect different approaches to achieving food security. To improve provision, food aid providers must learn from each other and IFAN exists in part to provide a forum for its members to discuss – in a critical but supportive manner – these different approaches.


    The following principles are at the foundation of everything we do:

    • We recognise the importance of good food and wellbeing - IFAN recognises that growing food, taking food beyond the cash economy and connecting with nature, contributes to individual and community health and provides space for wider civic engagement
    • We recognise the complexity of food need - IFAN recognises that food poverty almost always presents as one amongst a set of needs.
    • We acknowledge the need for structural change in society - IFAN recognises that food poverty is the result of a complex set of structural issues relating but not restricted to problems of insecure, inadequate and expensive housing, insecure and low paid employment, insufficient social welfare provision, poor health, and environmentally unsustainable and socially unjust food production and distribution system.

  • IFAN Connect

    Mapping all UK food aid provision

    We are in the process of compiling a nationwide database of independent food aid providers.


    It's essential that we get a clear and accurate picture of food aid in the UK and we can't do this until we know what is going on in communities across the country, over and above the annual Trussell Trust statistics. 


    Our researcher, Sabine Goodwin, is initially collecting contact details for food banks and food parcel distributors. She'd be very grateful for any information about independent food banks and food parcel points in your local area.


    Please contact Sabine at IFANconnect@gmail.com

  • FAQs

    Who can join IFAN?

    IFAN is open to food aid providers that aren't happy about the institutionalisation of food aid in the UK and want to see wider systemic change so that the number of people using food aid is radically reduced. Any food aid provider that agrees and wants to add to the voice for national change is welcome to join.

    Participation in IFAN is open to all food aid providers who share its vision, values and principles, but on the understanding that participation in the network by projects/organisations which are members or franchisees of, or affiliated to, other organisations is subject to these organisations/projects acting as individual entities rather than as representatives of their ‘parent’ organisation.

    Full membership (including voting rights) of IFAN is restricted to food aid providers that are entirely independent and that agree to abide by its values andd principles.


    Who is behind the development of IFAN?

    The development of IFAN is co-ordinated by founder Seb Mayfield and Steph Ellis, who are supported by IFAN's Trustees:

    Jon May – Bow Food Bank (Chair)
    Liev Cherry – Bow Food Bank
    Chris Sunderland – Real Economy Food Co-op (Treasurer)
    Nadine Daniel – Hope+ Food Bank (Secretary)
    Fiona Carr – Your Local Pantry, Stockport Homes

    Mohammed Mamdani - Sufra NW London


    Is there a need for a new network?

    IFAN has consulted with many food aid providers in the lead up to the launch of the network, including holding an event in Manchester in March 2016 and sending out an online survey in May 2016. Ninety-two percent of the food aid providers surveyed told us that they wanted a network for the following reasons:


    Work to create a society where there is food security for all – 97.8%
    Provide mutual support, and share resources, amongst food aid providers – 95.7%
    Share best practice – 95.7%
    Improve provision for, and access to, people in need of food aid – 93%
    Campaign for change – 91.3%
    Provide a forum and a collective voice for independent, grass roots food aid providers – 91.1%
    Work with and promote the voices of people in need – 88.6%
    Promote critical open-access research – 88.4%

    One of the key reasons for wanting to launch IFAN was the concern that food aid is becoming increasingly institutionalised in the UK, with food banks and other food aid providers being relied upon to feed people. We recognise that many people who work hard to provide food aid are far from happy with this situation and are keen to have a platform to be able to voice these concerns and call for wider systemic change that eradicate the need for food aid. IFAN aims to be that platform.


    Finally, the UK Food Poverty Alliance has recently formed and IFAN's organisers felt that it was vital that the voice of independent food aid providers of all varieties should be heard at the top table.


    Is food security for all a realistic aim?

    The current situation needs to improve in a number of ways if we are ever going to see food security for all. We recognise that this is an aspirational goal rather than something that will happen any time soon. However, we believe that it’s important to send a bold message about the direction of travel we want to head in – if we don’t believe it can happen then it definitely won’t.


    Why refer to the network as ‘independent’?

    The steering group chose to include the word ‘independent’ to reflect the fact that first and foremost we are a membership organisation for local food aid groups who are independent of any national organisation.

    By referring to the network as being ‘independent’ we are also demonstrating that we are prepared to take our own position on issues as and when necessary, in consultation with our members.


    Is IFAN in competition with the Trussell Trust foodbank network?

    IFAN is not trying to compete with any other national organisations, let alone the Trussell Trust. We recognise that many food banks have chosen to not join the Trussell Trust network for a variety of reasons but are keen to be represented at a national level. There are also lots of food aid providers that are not food banks, and therefore don’t fit into the Trussell Trust model, that would like to be part of a national network.

    IFAN is in regular contact with Trussell Trust and looks forward to the possibility of working together in the future, as and where desirable.


    What is IFAN’s relationship to the UK Food Poverty Alliance?

    IFAN is a member of the alliance and will continue to support its work where the aims and values are consistent with those of IFAN and it’s members.


    How is IFAN funded?

    IFAN currently receives no funding and is reliant on voluntary contributions from the coordinators and steering group. We have plans to secure funding in the next few months in order to develop the network as we would like to. However, we are committed to remaining lean and not growing our operations too big, as this is in opposition to our aim of seeing the end to food aid rather than supporting the institutionalisation of it.


    If you're question is not answered above, please contact us using the details below.

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