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One in five charities are “struggling to survive”. Surplus food could be the lifeline that they need.

Poster about famine

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1 March 2017

One in five larger UK charities are “struggling to survive” because of rising demand for services and an increasingly tough financial landscape. The figure, released today by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in their Social Landscape 2017 report, rises to a quarter of smaller organisations.

“The recent CAF report shines an important light on the struggles faced at present by the charity sector. We believe that food redistribution to charities can play a significant part in building resilience in the third sector. Given the continuing budgetary constraints faced by frontline organisations, the need for FareShare’s services is only likely to grow over the coming years. We therefore need more companies to get on board, do the right thing with their surplus food and work with us to help charities feed people.”

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO

This is a worrying trend and highlights why it is more important than ever that we use good food that cannot be sold to support the UK charity sector. This surplus food is a valuable resource that can help relieve the strain on charities. At FareShare, we’re constantly seeing an increase in demand from charities needing food, right across the country. In the last year, we provided food to 5,589 charities, more than double compared to the year before.

Surplus food is a lifeline for many of the organisations that we work with. Without it, many wouldn’t be able to support their beneficiaries with food when they are most in need. In fact, our own research shows that one in five charities believe they would have to close if FareShare stopped providing them with food.

Using surplus food means more money for support services

The CAF report shows that delivering front-line services is increasingly a challenge for charities, and is only expected to get worse:

  • Demand for services has increased for four out of five organisations in the past year
  • Meeting demands for services is now the second most common challenge cited by charity CEOs
  • 29% have had to reduce staff numbers and 28% have reduced front-line services in the past year

We believe food redistribution can make a difference. By using surplus food for their meal provision, these organisations could save crucial funds that can instead be used to deliver support services. Our member charities estimate that it would cost them on average £7,900 a year to replace the food they get from FareShare. Thanks to a reduced food bill, they reinvest this money back into their support services, to help people back on their feet.