The Trussell Trust saw a sharp rise in its income to nearly £60m, leading to a surplus of close to £40m last year, according to its latest accounts.
The food bank charity filed its accounts for the year end March 2021 at the end of January. These show a total income of £57.78m, which is an 171% increase in income since 2019-20, when its income was £21.3m. In 2017-18 its income was £7.3m.
Expenditure in 2020-21 was £18.72m. This means the charity generated a £39.07m surplus, which it says will be used to meet increasing need through its new strategy.
Chair of trustees Stephen Hicks said 2020-21 “saw the highest ever need for food banks in our 24-year history” as the charity delivered 2.5 million emergency food parcels to people in need for the first time on record.
Increase in public donations
The income rise is largely down to an increase in public donations, during a year when the charity was often in the media.
In 2021 The Trussell Trust received £29.53m in public donations compared with £18.9m in 2020.
Some £1m worth of donated food was given to the charity from March 2020-21, an increase of almost 25% to the previous financial year.
A spokesperson from The Trussell Trust told Civil Society News: “Covid-19 had - and continues to have - a huge impact on society. Sadly, food banks in our network have been on the frontline of some of the devastating consequences of the pandemic, as levels of need for emergency food increased at a rate even higher than we had seen in previous years.”
A total of 47 government grants contributed over £389,000 to the charity's income.
In accordance with the increase in income, The Trussell Trust’s expenditure rose by 34% in 2020-21 to £18.72m.
Most of the spending, £15.38m, was classified as charitably activity, and includes things such as advocacy work, grants and support to its foodbank network.
Over £6m of the charity's expenditure was spent on wages and salaries. Six of The Trussell Trust's employees earn more than £60,000 a year - with the highest earner making £110,000 - £120,000 per annum.
Plans for surplus funds
When asked about how the charity will use the surplus funds, The Trussell Trust told Civil Society News by continuing its work to fight against poverty through its Together for Change strategy.
As well as continuing to fund its 1,200 food banks, the charity aims to undertake more research that determines why people are turning to food banks. They aim to use the findings to lobby government into making changes to policy.
“We will also be boosting our changing communities’ strategic goal by increasing grants to food banks so they can strengthen their ability to address and solve the root causes of poverty locally, and increasing access for financial advice and support for people facing financial hardship,” a spokesperson told Civil Society News.
The charity has pledged £26.75m to its Together for Change strategy to be spent over the next two years. £3m has been designated to its new Pathfinders grant programme, which awards grants to local food banks.
The Trussell Trust’s strategic priorities for 2020-25 include supporting communities through its Help through Hardship helpline, which provides free advice for those experiencing financial destitution. Not only that, it aims to change policy through lobbying government and changing people’s minds about the taboo topic of food poverty.
Its campaign to change minds, Hunger Free Future, has gained the attention of celebrities and influencers alike.
Media coverage boosted donations
The Trussell Trust confirmed that the increased media coverage of material deprivation during the start of the pandemic helped to widen the charity’s reach.
In 2020, Marcus Rashford campaigned to extend free school meals during the summer and Christmas holidays for disadvantaged children. The England footballer’s passion for fighting against poverty is borne from lived experience.
A Trussell Trust spokesperson said: “Throughout the pandemic, Marcus Rashford has been instrumental in campaigning for change and raising child poverty up the national agenda. His tireless campaigning has ensured thousands of children were protected from hunger over the school holidays, and inspired millions to care about poverty and take action towards a more just future. We’re proud to work closely with Marcus and are incredibly grateful for his work to stand alongside people living in poverty.”
The Trussell Trust was named as one of Rashford's chosen charities for the People’s Postcode Lottery. The footballer presented The Trussell Trust and FareShare with the cheque for £250,000.