Trussell Trust records £16m deficit amid six-fold rise in food bank grants

03 Jan 2023 News

The Trussell Trust has reported a deficit of £16.4m as it increased financial support to its network of food banks six-fold. 

Accounts for the year ending 31 March 2022 show that the charity’s income fell by more than £25m to £34.2m, while its expenditure rose to £50.6m.

More than half of the charity’s expenditure (£28.3m) went to its network of food banks, which is more than six times higher than the previous year (£4.4m). 

The charity also spent £7.2m in non-financial support to its food bank network, £4.5m on fundraising and £4.4m on its helpline for people in financial hardship.

Meanwhile, donations and legacies significantly dropped, from £55m to £32.6m. The charity had previously seen a sharp rise in its income to nearly £60m, leading to a surplus of close to £40m in 2020-21. 

Income down 40%

Last year, the Trussell Trust’s total income fell by 41% to £34.2m. Total expenditure was nearly three times higher than that of 2021, increasing from £18.7m to £50.6m. 

In response to the cost-of-living crisis, the charity gave out £28m in grants to its food banks, a 560% increase on last year. 

It ended the year with a net deficit of £16.4m compared to a surplus of £39m for the year ending 31 March 2021.

“The significant change represented an unprecedented level of planned investment in our strategy and critically in supporting our food bank network through the extraordinary challenges they face,” the charity wrote in its accounts. 

For the first time outside of a pandemic year, the charity’s 1,300 food banks delivered over two million emergency food parcels, a 14% increase compared to the same period before the start of the pandemic. 

Reduced donations and legacies, increased staff

The accounts also show that fundraised income fell by more than 40%, from £55m to £32.6m.

Similarly, donated goods and services decreased, from £56m to £33m.  

The number of full-time equivalent employees during the year increased by 66 to 216 while the number of employees whose benefits surpassed £60,000 rose from six to 25. 

‘We’re fortunate to enter this year with significant reserves’

Chief executive Emma Revie said the Trussell Trust was “fortunate to enter this year with significant reserves, thanks to the generosity of our partners and supporters during the pandemic”.

Indeed, the charity’s free reserves stood at £13.1m at 31 March 2022, a slight drop on the previous £15m.

Revie added: “With expert insight and predictions suggesting that the cost-of-living crisis is only set to get worse, I know it can be difficult to hold on to a sense of hope. But I also know that while we’re all feeling the impact of rising price of essentials and it remains at the forefront of our minds, we’re becoming increasingly united in our determination that this just isn’t right. In a country as wealthy as the UK, people should not be turning to charity to afford essentials like food.”

She continued: “Together with our food bank network, staff and volunteers, our partners, the generosity of businesses, churches and supporters and the guidance of our board of trustees, I’m choosing to look forward with hope. A hope that things can and must change. A hope that’s rooted in the strength of our network, backed up by our evidence, and bolstered by all of our partners and supporters.”

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