• Mapping the UK's Independent Food Banks

    At least 817 independent food banks operate across the UK today

  • Since February 2017, IFAN's Sabine Goodwin has been working to identify independent food banks providing food parcels outside of the Trussell Trust network. Results from this research, reported in The Guardian and other national newspapers, revealed that there were at least 651 independent food banks operating across Britain in May 2017.

     

    With work continuing, Sabine has by now identified over 162 more food banks, bringing the total number of independents to at least 817. This equates to 39.5% of the combined total of independent and Trussell Trust food banks with the Trussell Trust network currently extending to 1,249. There is a total of at least 2,066 food banks across the UK but in addition we estimate that there are at least 2,500 non-food bank independent food aid providers.

     

    You can see our map of independent food banks and food bank style projects above. The definition of a food bank or food bank style project for the purposes of this research is a venue which regularly gives out emergency food parcels at least once a week. Some food banks/food bank style projects prefer to keep their locations anonymous - these venues are counted but not mapped. The list/map is routinely updated. If you represent an independent food bank or food bank style project that's not been included so far we'd like to hear from you - please contact Sabine Goodwin at ifanconnect@gmail.com.

     

    Although we advocate on behalf of independent food banks and other food aid providers we are not directly linked to these organisations unless they are members of our network. We are not in a position to refer individuals for food aid assistance and our map of independent food banks does not include opening times/contact details.


    We believe that UK-wide monitoring of household food insecurity is key to efforts to prevent the normalisation of emergency food aid provision within the UK. We are pleased that food insecurity measurement has now been adopted by the DWP's Family Resources Survey and that data collated from ten food insecurity related questions will be available in March 2021.

     

    If you would like to make reference to this mapping work in any publication or report or if you would like to use this data for any further research please contact us at ifanconnect@gmail.com beforehand to request our agreement and please credit Sabine Goodwin on behalf of the Independent Food Aid Network. We provide open access to the independent food bank map in the public interest and trust that this data will not be harvested without our prior agreement.

     

    This research has been vital in bringing attention to the true scale of food poverty in the UK while also raising the profile of independent food aid providers. Some of the news reports published on the project can be found here:

    The Guardian: Report reveals scale of food bank use in the uk
    Independent: Hundreds of hidden food banks reveal true scale of food poverty in UK
    Local Government.co.uk: Study reveals hundreds more food banks than previously recorded
    Unite: hidden food banks - food poverty higher than estimated under Tories

    Food Poverty, what we don't know

    The Unfolding Disaster of 'Hidden Hunger' in Britain's Adults

    Exposed: the true scale of food banks in Scotland

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