New Comic Relief funding means debt advice will now be available in all Trussell Trust food banks from September

Red Nose Day cash is funding an innovative Trussell Trust food bank service set up with Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis. The service will help people tackle the financial problems behind their struggle to buy food.

The Trussell Trust runs a UK-wide network of 400+ food banks that give emergency food and support to people in crisis. Last year Trussell Trust food banks gave three days’ food to over 900,000 people, including 300,000 children. Their ‘More than Food’ project helps food banks widen their support beyond emergency food.

The project, currently piloted in six food banks thanks to a substantial donation from MoneySavingExpert.com’s founder Martin Lewis, sees food banks partner with local debt and money management charities to give people professional financial and debt advice at the point of crisis.

The new funding from Comic Relief will make this new service available to all 407 food banks across the Trussell Trust network, helping even more families facing hunger across the country.

Martin Lewis said: “I’m jumping for joy that Comic Relief is willing to fund the roll out of the ‘More than Food’ project across the UK. It was always my hope that this scheme would provide the financial equivalent to ‘give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’ – and it seems to be doing just that.

“Those who go to food banks are already open to asking for help. They’ve rightly prioritised the urgent need to feed themselves and their children. So intervening at that point to start to get their financial lives back on track, by approachable, non-judgemental help is a powerful tool to cut down the number of return visits.”

Trussell Trust volunteer June, 60, is helping set up ‘More than Food’ in a Durham Trussell Trust food bank. The project is close to June’s heart as she knows how life-changing this service can be for many people struggling to make ends meet, having sought help from a debt advice organisation when her husband passed away six years ago.

June said: “Thomas’ death was very sudden and ever since it has been really hard going. You don’t prepare financially for someone to go suddenly like that. Three years after losing him, I was still really struggling so I went to Durham Money Advice Centre for help sorting out my money situation.

“It was such a big relief, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. While the debt advice was a brilliant help, being able to talk to someone about it all was wonderful too.

“I’m helping to set up this new project because I understand what people go through with debt and health problems. I dread to think what situation I’d be facing now if it wasn’t for the help I received. Sometimes I still find it hard, but working at the food bank and being able to help other people also helps me. I call it my therapy.”

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