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Why Cash First?


IFAN and a Cash First Approach to Food Insecurity

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 governments and national and local partnerships to prioritise a cash first approach to food insecurity and to work together to address the root causes of food insecurity and poverty.

IFAN is working to promote a cash first approach to food insecurity in a number of ways

  • by advocating for all local authorities to provide adequate, well-promoted and easy accessible cash payments to people in financial crisis

  • by advocating for systemic changes that would see social security payments and wages match the cost of living and the root causes of food insecurity and poverty addressed

  • by co-developing and circulating cash first referral leaflets across multiple local authorities

  • by supporting their member organisations to use shopping cards or vouchers and/or cash grants instead of or alongside food parcels or other food support

Reducing food insecurity, poverty and health inequalities through cash first interventions

Briefing: Food Insecurity - what can local government do?

The Health Foundation (June 2023)

Diet-related health inequalities

UK Parliament |

December 2022

The case for cash first - moving on from vouchers and food parcels as a response to food insecurity


November 2021

A Cash First Future

Resources linked to our joint in-person conference with the Trussell Trust in Glasgow (March 2023)

The growing need for charitable food aid and a cash first approach to food insecurity (slides)

Isle of Wight Food Waste and Food Poverty Conference | November 2022

Relationship between income and healthy life expectancy by local authority

The Health Foundation |

April 2021

Cost of living: The healthcare ecosystem

UK Parliament |

December 2022


Cash-first approaches to addressing food poverty

Sustain | February 2021

Cash first provision at a local level

Cash First Toolkit for Community Food staff and volunteers


Edinburgh Community Food and IFAN

Cash Transfers: five lessons about cash transfers decision makers at all levels of government should be aware of

The Trussell Trust |

November 2022

An evaluation of the Leeds City Council cash grant pilot programme


Vantage Point Research |

July 2022 

Cash first: the LCC pilot Legendary Community Club

Legendary Community Club | November 2021

The safety net beneath the safety net?

NECPC | October 2021

Using Covid-19 funding to tackle child poverty


CPAG | January 2021

Cash first approach to welfare provision


GMPA | November 2020

'Cash first' - responding to the needs of low income residents through the provision of Local Welfare Support

GMPA | August 2020

Cash in a crisis: best practices on Local Welfare Assistance for local authorities during Covid-19


Child Poverty Action Group |  June 2020

Winter support fund: summary of local action to tackle financial insecurity


Scottish Government


Learning from the British Red Cross Covid-19 Hardship Fund

British Red Cross |

December 2021

Giving people cash rather than food parcels would empower them

The Guardian | November 2021

The case for cash benchmarking

Social Market Foundation | February 2021

Utilising funding provided through the covid winter grant scheme to strengthen Local Welfare Assistance

Children's Society, et al. | December 2020

Response, resilience and recovery: London's food response to Covid-19


Sustain | November 2020

Good practice guide: delivering financial hardship support schemes


Local Government Association | July 2020

Food for vulnerable people in Covid-19 lockdowns: learning from Greenwich

Sustain | April 2020

Why local policy matters when it comes to ending the need for food banks – Webinar


The Trussell Trust | November 2022

Local policy: why local policy matters when it comes to ending the need for food banks


The Trussell Trust |

November 2022

Event summary: the safety net beneath the safety net 

NECPC | December 2021

Dignity and choice through financial support - embedding cash first approaches

Nourish Scotland

November 2021

Local lifelines: the case of reinvigorating Local Welfare Assistance beyond Covid-19

The Trussell Trust, et al. | February 2021

Strengthening the role of local welfare assistance


GMPA | December 2020

Local lifelines: investing in local welfare during and beyond Covid-19


The Trussell Trust |

October 2020

How the delivery of Scottish Welfare Fund can reduce the need for emergency food aid


IFAN and The Trussell Trust |

July 2020

The Scottish Welfare Fund: strengthening the safety net 


A Menu for Change |

June 2019

Using a cash first approach overseas

Increasing links between humanitarian cash and social protection for an effective response to the Covid-19 pandemic

Red Cross | May 2022

Doing cash differently: how cash transfers can transform humanitarian aid | Overseas Development Institute

Overseas Development Institute | September 2015

Reduction in severe food insecurity follow the Canada Child Benefit


POSTnote |  December 2019

The effects of DFID's cash transfer programmes on poverty and vulnerability

ICAI | January 2017

Smarter aid: why digital cash transfers are the future | Oxfam Views & Voices


Oxfam | May 2017

Cash-based approaches in humanitarian emergencies: a systematic review 

DFID | May 2016

Using shopping cards or vouchers and/or charitable cash grants instead of or alongside food parcels and other food support

Using shopping vouchers instead of or alongside food parcel provision


June 2021

Covid-19 learning and reflections: use of shopping vouchers instead or alongside food provision

September 2020

Resources and news pieces linked to 'Worrying About Money?' cash first referral leaflets

Building Cash First: Sharing local lessons to reduce the need for charitable food aid


IFAN | February 2023

The Shropshire 'Worrying About Money?' leaflet and starting to shift the conversation around food insecurity

Sophie Padgett, Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance |

 January 2022

Worrying About Money? Scotland's cash first referral leaflet - impact findings


ScotCen | November 2021

Cash first approaches to food poverty

Sustain | February 2021

Another challenging year for Fair Frome and Frome people in crisis


Frome Times | December 2022

"Worrying About Money?' leaflet launched


North Somerset Council |

 August 2022

Cornwall's 'Worrying About Money?' leaflet and building momentum for change


Emma Greenwood, The Trussell Trust |

December 2021

Consultation paper: Ending the need for food banks: consultation on a draft national plan

Scottish Government |

October 2021

Oldham Health and Wellbeing Board to release a statement on the health impact of the cost of living crisis

Oldham Council |

November 2022

Finding hope in cash first approaches at the bleakest of times


Sabine Goodwin, IFAN for Sustain | February 2022

The safety net beneath the safety net


NECPC | December 2021

Promoting a 'cash first' approach to food insecurity in Scotland: lessons from developing 'Worrying About Money?' leaflets

IFAN and Nourish Scotland |  June 2021

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