Many of End Hunger’s members and supporters work for emergency food providers including pantries, kitchens and foodbanks. One of the founding principles of our campaign was that we aim to represent the voice of those who work to end hunger. As part of that we are trying to find out what you think about Universal Credit for our next campaign. End Hunger UK Campaign Manager Rachel Alcock writes about the survey we are launching.
The Trussell Trust research show us that specific issues with Universal Credit are driving up the numbers of people who use their foodbanks. This includes, for example: the wait time people experience before getting Universal Credit payments, difficulties applying online, and the freeze on the level of payments given out. But we don’t know if the same factors are driving people to other types of emergency food providers.
For example, does the wait in receiving payments push more parents into sending their children to holiday food providers? Or does the benefit freeze mean more people are visiting soup kitchens? Perhaps the roll-out of Universal Credit isn’t impacting these services at all, or maybe there is some other aspect of Universal Credit which is driving up the service levels in these facilities.
End Hunger UK have launched a questionnaire which aims to begin to understand the connections between the rollout of Universal Credit and the impact this has on all types of emergency food provision. Through this ground-breaking survey, we hope to identify the Universal Credit drivers which are responsible for claimants needing to use a whole array of food aid provision.
If you manage, work or volunteer at a facility that provides hot or cold food, or food parcels to people who are unable to pay for food, or to children or young people whose families are unable to feed them please let us know your thoughts.
You can provide as much or a little information as you are able, and it will all be used anonymously unless you give us permission to use the name of your organisation.
From the data that we gather we hope to draw up a concrete list of changes to Universal Credit that could reduce the numbers of people relying on emergency food aid. We will write an open letter to government asking for these changes, which we will then ask food aid providers and the people that use these services to sign up to.
If you need any more information about the survey or have any questions please email Rachel Alcock, UK Food Campaigner for Oxfam GB and End Hunger UK on firstname.lastname@example.org.