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#RunningOnEmpty : Help the most vulnerable communities in the UK during the Cost of Living crisis

Dramatic impact of cost-of-living crisis hits the most vulnerable UK communities.

Nearly 7 million people are said to be going hungry in the UK, including 2 million children. That is an increase of 2 million since the pandemic. Research suggests almost half of all children are living in families who are unable to meet the cost of some basic necessities.

A major new survey of more than 1,200 charities and community groups, which rely on food from FareShare to feed people at risk of hunger, highlights the dramatic impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on the most vulnerable families across the UK:

  • 90% of the organisations say their services have been affected in some way by the cost-of-living crisis
  • 71% “moderately” or “severely” affected
  • 75% have seen an increase in demand for their services over the past year
  • 87% provide vital wrap around care services as well as food. These services include support with unemployment or low income, homelessness, family break up and abuse, mental health issues and addiction

Food, fuel, clothes, travel and household bills have all been rising steadily in recent months, with inflation now running at 6.2%, its highest level for 30 years. National insurance has also risen by 1.25% percentage points.

How the cost of living crisis affects individual people

Ruth Smythe is a full-time carer, from Caerphilly in Wales. She started using a local pantry supported by FareShare about four months ago, after her husband had to leave his job due to ill health and is really feeling the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

“We went from a household with income, coming out of furlough without a wage coming in, and started to think, what am I going to do? Our energy prices have gone up by £50 since October. It’s a scary prospect. I am a full-time carer. I look after my son who has an illness which requires us to do up to three washes of clothing a day.”

“We’ve had to be much more inventive – I can’t go out and grab a coffee with my friends, I have to take a flask of tea. I couldn’t imagine that 6 months ago that we’d be dealing with this”

“Our survey of our charity network illustrates the impact that price rises, and the cost-of-living crisis is having on communities across the UK.

“With predictions that inflation is set to rise yet further, the ongoing impact that the conflict in Ukraine is having and expected tax rises, it’s clear that many families – who faced furlough and uncertainty during the pandemic, are now experiencing added difficult hardship.

“Demand for our food is as high as it’s ever been. That’s why we’ve launched our new campaign, Running on Empty, to highlight the difficult circumstances that many families are facing across the UK and are calling for more support for those struggling to feed themselves, and more donations of food from across the food industry to help meet that need.”

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO

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Reasons given by the charities as to why more people are accessing their services

65% state the increases in the cost of food

52% state rising energy bills

63% state changes in universal credit

60% state unemployment

54% state low pay

56% state mental health issues

36% state physical health issues