“The effectiveness of Food Bank Plus is clear; the more support made available to people during their first visit to a food bank, the shorter the period of time they are likely to be hungry.”
In the first Feeding Britain report food banks across the UK were encouraged to build on their emergency response by embracing a Food Bank Plus model, in which they would host specialists trained to address the problems that have led people to be hungry.
In an ideal world the Food Bank Plus intervention would not be necessary, but for the time being it remains essential.
What is Food Bank Plus?
This Food Bank Plus involves placing expert advisors into emergency food projects, so that they can help people to resolve the issues that led to them needing to seek food aid. As well as advice and advocacy to help resolve benefits issues, the advisors can also help to signpost people to other sources of support such as debt advice, budgeting support or employment support. This approach is proven to reduce the duration and severity of hunger experienced by those individuals who have been referred to a food bank, and means they no longer need to rely on food handouts.
Where are we piloting Food Bank Plus?
We aim to roll out Food Bank Plus in each of our local pilot areas, and are currently seeking funding to do so nationally.
Currently, Feeding Birkenhead has secured funding to support an advisor from Involve Northwest, and independent advice charity, to support clients at the Wirral Food Bank and other community food projects in Birkenhead.
Other pilot areas, including Feeding Coventry, operate similar schemes to connect advice services with food banks, and are keen to scale this up across the city.