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10 years of Hackney Foodbank

3rd May 2022

2022 marks 10 years of Hackney Foodbank supporting local people who are in crisis or trapped in poverty with compassion and dignity. In this time, we have provided over 500,000kgs of food and household items to people in Hackney. That’s equivalent to the weight of over 40 double decker buses!

40 double decker buses in a row

Our food bank was founded in 2012 by local churches and community groups working together to stop hunger in Hackney. We provide access to food and household items, which offer practical, immediate relief in moments of crisis, and connect people with local organisations who can help them to address the root causes and wider effects of poverty in their lives. Over the last decade, the factors that lead to people needing our services have shifted, but our vision remains for a hunger-free Hackney, where everyone can afford to eat.

Changing times

Supporting people to address the causes of poverty in their lives is becoming increasingly complex, with many people facing numerous different challenges which can contribute to a crisis situation. Combined with national and global pressures, there are several factors affecting Hackney specifically which have led to continuous increases in the number of people needing our services. While years of regeneration projects and focus on ‘economic opportunity’ have led to a shift in perception of Hackney and, on the surface, resulted in lower overall levels of deprivation across the borough, the reality is that these opportunities have not reached everyone.

11% of Hackney’s neighbourhoods remain in the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods nationally (IMD 2019 via Hackney Council Borough Profile 2020), with people “disproportionately affected by child poverty, worklessness and welfare dependency” (Hackney Council Borough Profile 2020). According to Trust for London, 48% of children in Hackney are classed as being in poverty, and Hackney has one of the highest rates of households in temporary accommodation (28 households per 1,000 compared to an average of 17 across London).

The gap has widened for people in challenging circumstances who are furthest away from employment and opportunity. Factors that drive people into poverty have disproportionately increased in Hackney compared to surrounding boroughs, and the overall picture is distorted by growth and prosperity for those who have moved into the borough, while some locals continue to experience inequalities, crisis, and destitution.

Hackney Foodbank: a timeline

Timeline from opening Hackney Foodbank's doors to 2022

2012 Hackney Foodbank founded to end hunger in Hackney

2013 Changes to the benefits system almost doubled demand

2015 The majority of people accessed services due to a delay, suspension or change in statutory benefit

2018 In-work poverty (low income) became the main reason for people accessing Hackney Foodbank

2020 Covid-19 led to a 165% increase in demand March-Dec

2022 Cost of living crisis set to push more people into poverty and/or crisis

Our approach

Our approach has three main elements:

  • Relieving immediate hunger by providing access to food and household items. This allows people some headspace to consider what steps they may need to take to address their circumstances
  • Increasing hope through conversations and connection to opportunities. No matter what is going on for people who come to us, we welcome everyone without judgement and with the fundamental belief that it is possible to change the circumstances that lead to hunger, and break cycles of poverty
  • Increasing access to relevant support by connecting people to local organisations. It can be so hard to know where to start when seeking help, so we stay on top of what support is available locally and put people in touch with organisations we know can help them

Vision, Mission and Outcomes

In the last year, our Board has set some updated Strategic Objectives. They are to:

  • Become a more equitable, diverse and inclusive organisation that reflects the community we serve at all levels of the charity
  • Be sustainable (environmentally, financially and by promoting food independence)
  • Provide effective foodbank and signposting services where they are needed most

This year, we will be implementing some innovative new projects and activities to further our aims and strategic objectives.

Hackney Foodbank relies on the incredible generosity of people who donate money, household items, and their time to support our services. We’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported Hackney Foodbank over the last ten years.

What’s next?

We want to see an end to hunger, and an end to the need for food banks. It is neither just nor acceptable that our society should need food banks, but for as long as that is the reality, we will continue to support Hackney communities with dignity, compassion, and in an equitable way.

If you would like to help us to be there for people who find themselves in crisis or trapped in poverty, click the links below to:

Donate money

Donate food and most needed items

Volunteer.

We also hope you will be able to join us at our commemorative events later in the year to reflect, learn and strengthen our support offer for people in Hackney. We will have more information soon, so please ensure you stay up to date by following us on social media:

Twitter

LinkedIn

Instagram

Facebook.

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