• Mapping the UK's Independent Food Banks

  • The number of independent food banks has been growing at an extraordinary but hitherto unknown
    rate. Building a picture of the number of independent food banks now operating is important to
    developing an understanding of the true scale of food poverty in the UK.

    Since February 2017, IFAN has been working to identify and map the UK’s independent food banks in
    a project initiated by our volunteer researcher Sabine Goodwin. Results from this research, reported
    in a number of national newspapers, showed that there were at least 651 independent food banks
    operating in the UK in May 2017. With work continuing, Sabine has now identified a further 61 food
    banks, bringing the total number of independent food banks to 714. This equates to 36.5% of the total number of food banks in the UK.

    This research has been vital in raising awareness of the true scale of food poverty in the UK, and
    raising the profile of independent food aid providers. It is also the start of a wider project, for which we are seeking funding, to map all emergency food aid provision across the UK including emergency meal providers as well as food redistribution groups.

    Ultimately we would like to see national monitoring of household food insecurity as part of an effort
    to stop the normalisation of emergency food aid provision within the UK. This is why we wholeheartedly support Emma Lewell-Buck's Food Insecurity Bill through our work with End Hunger UK.

    If you represent an independent food bank or food bank style project that's not been included in our
    research so far we'd very much like to hear from you.


    Please contact Sabine Goodwin at ifanconnect@gmail.com


    Some of the reports on this research 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


    The results of this research can be seen on our Map of Independent Food Banks and Food Bank Style
    projects above (blue flags indicate IFAN members). Some food banks and food bank style projects prefer to keep their locations anonymous - these venues are counted but not mapped.