The Independent Food Aid Network and the Trussell Trust recently announced groundbreaking research, revealing the extent of volunteer contributions to UK food banks.
The first joint study of Trussell Trust and independent food banks finds volunteers contribute more than 4 million hours in support to UK food banks every year. Calculating the value of this work, using the National Living Wage, this equates to at least £30 million a year.
I wanted to set up the Independent Food Aid Network to make sure independent food banks, and other models of food aid provision, had a national voice. I also wanted to make sure that valuable research into the extent of food aid in the UK included independent food aid providers, rather than only Trussell Trust foodbanks. This research is a perfect example of what IFAN was set up to do.
As much as we should recognise the efforts of volunteers, rather than celebrating their achievements we should use this research to highlight the massive responsibility civic society has had to take on, in place of adequate government policy.
As I heard someone say the other day, we don't need to make sure people get food, we need to make sure people have enough money to get the food of their choice.
Click here for more on the research.