Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Austerity, sanctions, and the rise of food banks in the UK

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 08 April 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1775

Rapid Response:

Re: Austerity, sanctions, and the rise of food banks in the UK

The article reflects what we see in Derbyshire. To my knowledge, Derbyshire County (not including Derby City) now has 22 food banks, some with additional branch operations, compared with one in 2009.
The key point I should like to make is that of the 22 food banks in Derbyshire only five are affiliated with the Trussell Trust. The remainder are independent, usually initiated by Christian Churches and occasionally by community groups. So the data cited in this article is certainly an underestimate.
From April 2014 we have asked food banks in Derbyshire to share with us some of the routine data they collect. These data generally reflect Trussell Trust data. We learned that the second most frequent referral agency (JobCentre+ being the first) was our children's centres. This causes us great concern as it suggests that many families with children in Derbyshire are going hungry and need emergency food parcles.
We would welcome a more systematic approach to surveillance of food insecurity and use of food banks and an end to 'the causes of their causes'.
Julie Hirst

Competing interests: Derbyshire County Council has given small grants to local food banks for the last two years totalling just under £126,000.

10 April 2015
Julie Hirst
Public Health Specialist
Derbyshire County Council Matlock DE$ 3AG