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Nearly £1bn donated to food bank charities last year – up 50% YOY

A close up of a hand putting food into a box at a food bank
Image by Freepik

The amount of money donated to food bank charities has increased by 50% year on year, with the British public estimated to have given almost £1 billion last year, according to Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) research.

Based on a sample size of just over 13,000 people, CAF found that people donated £973 million to food banks in 2023, increasing from £635 million during the previous year.

The latest official statistics from the government, shared by CAF, show that 3.3% of households used a food bank within the last year, with 1.4% saying they had used a food bank within the last 30 days (2022 to 2023).

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People donating more

The number of donors choosing to support food banks remained consistent year-on-year with 16% donating in the last four weeks. However overall donation amounts increased with the average donation to food banks increasing by £10, up from £22 in 2022 to £32 last year. In comparison, people gave an average of £20 to animal welfare causes and £17 to medial research charities in 2023. Food banks received similar levels of support from all age groups and across all regions of the country.

Rising awareness of local need

Nearly half (49%) of people said that the cost-of-living crisis made them more conscious of need in their local community. More than a third (36%) said they are especially likely to donate to a charity tackling homelessness and food poverty at the moment. 

Separate CAF research also found that the cost-of-living crisis had led people to notice the need for charities in their community.

One regular donor said: 

“I have increased the amount I’m giving particularly to local food banks and similar charities… I had previously been unaware of the existence of any local food banks and now I am a regular contributor.”

Another giver said:

“Things have that bit more of an effect when you see them first-hand… the crisis means you see people really struggling in your area and you want to take those extra steps to help them.”

Neil Heslop OBE, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation commented:

“Food bank charities provide a safety net for the most vulnerable in our communities. But due to the cost-of-living crisis, their costs have increased, and they need more donations to pay rent and to keep the lights on. Unlike businesses, they cannot pass cost increases on to customers.

 

“Even when times are tough, it’s heart-warming to see how people respond generously to support charities around the UK providing for more and more families. For those who can’t afford to give more, volunteering your time or donating goods is also a crucial way to help charities.”

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