St Paul’s and the Good Shepherd – working at the front line of our food bank crisis
22 JAN 2020
Allchurches Trust provides annual grants to dioceses throughout the UK and Ireland to fund a range of programmes and activities that are focused on community engagement, social action, education and more. With our annual grant, the Diocese of London fund clergy members for a number of parishes and churches in areas of high need, like St Paul’s and the Good Shepherd in Hounslow West.
St Paul’s are one of around 2,000 churches and charities throughout the UK that now run food banks (an unbelievable rise from ‘very few’ in 2010). The service is often accompanied by community cafes and debt advice, provided by volunteers, supporting more than four million people in the UK who are trapped in deep poverty.
David Pearmain, Treasurer of St Paul’s and the Good Shepherd, said: “While the clients wait for their food parcel to be made up, they enjoy a hot drink and cake served by the friendly volunteer café team in our welcoming space… Debt advisors and representatives from local social services are available for clients to talk to, helping not just to tackle the immediate need for assistance with food, but also to support individuals with additional needs.”
Deep poverty is defined by the Social Metrics Commission as having an income at least 50% below the official breadline (which is £262 per week after rent for a couple with no children). There are another seven million people in the UK, including 2.3 million children, who are affected by ‘persistent poverty’, meaning they have lived in poverty for at least two of the previous three years.
According to research in the Trussell Trust’s major three-year study, State of Hunger, the average food bank user has an income of around only £50 per week after rent, and single mothers account for around one fifth of all food bank users. Those dependent on charity food banks are typically also in poor health, exposed to challenging life experiences and have a lack of informal support from family or friends.
Rachel Whittington, Trust Director of Allchurches, said, “Social action programmes, like the food bank offered by St Paul’s and the Good Shepherd, are crucial to support, encourage and bring hope and friendship to those in our communities who are living in destitution, persistent poverty or who are food insecure.
“We are extremely proud to support so many churches and charities throughout the UK and Ireland to continue to do the work they do, and our annual grants to dioceses are a significant way in which we undertake this support at the grass roots level.”