A donation from Comic Relief means those attending Trussell Trust foodbanks will be able to get debt and money advice there too from September.

This follows a pilot of the 'More than Food' campaign at six food banks funded by a personal six-figure donation last August from MoneySavingExpert.com founder and editor, Martin Lewis. See Martin's I'm excited to be involved in a radical financial triage foodbanks programme blog for more information.

The 'More than Food' campaign supports vulnerable people with emergency food, and gives them professional financial advice through partnerships with local debt and money-management charities.

The 'financial triage' pilot programme began in February this year in response to the increase in people being referred to foodbanks as they faced severe financial difficulty.

But the cash from Red Nose Day - the amount hasn't been disclosed but it's likely to be hundreds of thousands of pounds - will make this service available at all 420 foodbanks across the Trussell Trust Network from September, for a five-year period.

'I'm jumping for joy'

Martin says "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 foodbanks 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."

Martin Lewis
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'I dread to think what situation I'd be facing if it wasn't for the help I received'

Durham foodbank volunteer June is just one person who's benefitted from the 'More than Food' programme. When June's husband of 36-years died suddenly, she struggled to keep her finances on track and needed help with her debts.

The 60-year-old says: "You don't prepare financially for someone to go suddenly like that. Getting help with my money situation was a big relief. The debt advice is brilliant help and I also got a couple of food parcels while I got back on my feet.

"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 foodbank and being able to help other people also helps me. I call it my therapy."

Last year, Trussell Trust foodbanks gave three days' food to over 900,000 people, including 300,000 children. To find out more, visit Trussell Trust.

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