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Pears Foundation grants £1m to Trussell Trust for rollout of benefits advice programme  

Melanie May | 7 October 2020 | News

Pears Foundation has announced a £1 million grant to the Trussell Trust to fund work to help raise the income of people referred to its food banks. 
The grant is part of Pears Foundation’s ongoing long-term partnership with the Trussell Trust. The funds will be provided over the next five years, and will focus on tackling destitution by raising people’s incomes, including through the provision of a free national benefits advice programme for those referred to its food banks.
The Trussell Trust’s latest research forecasts a 61% increase in food parcels needed across its UK network in October to December with the charity warning that the mass unemployment predicted will result in 670,000 additional people classed as destitute by the end of 2020, meaning they cannot afford essentials like housing, energy and food. This is on top of year-on-year rises in the number of people unable to afford food and forced to food banks across the UK.
Pears Foundation has previously supported a Child Poverty Action Group income maximisation pilot based at a food bank in Tower Hamlets, which over the course of eight years, returned a total of £4.2m to 1,512 clients. Through the new funding, it aims  to enable half of all food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network to have implemented an income maximisation programme in the next five years. This will include building a financial resilience team, providing signposting training for volunteers, a grant programme to fund services and data capture and advocacy.
Emma Revie, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, said:

“We’ve seen unprecedented numbers of people needing help from food banks for the first time as the impact of coronavirus has hit people’s incomes. This isn’t right. But thanks to the longstanding support of the Pears Foundation, over many years, we’ve been able to weather the storm of the pandemic and move forward with renewed confidence in supporting our network of food banks during these uncertain times.
“Ultimately no one should ever need to use a food bank. By making sure that people struggling to afford food are getting as much income as possible, projects funded by this grant will not only help people at the point of crisis but will also make it less likely that someone will need a food bank in the future. We can become a country where everyone has enough money for essentials.”

Sir Trevor Pears CMG, Executive Chair of the Pears Foundation, added:


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“We are delighted to continue and deepen our Foundation’s decade long partnership with the Trussell Trust. We fully support the Trust’s new Income Maximisation strategy and their increasing focus on ending the need for food banks. Having funded the successful Tower Hamlets pilot we are very pleased to back the Trust as they roll out this approach on a national basis. I look forward to continuing to work with Emma and the team at Trussell Trust over the coming five years to help thousands of people facing severe financial hardship.”