Trolley push raises awareness of UK food poverty

Phil the Trolley was taken for a tour of Cambridge by the former Archbishop of Canterbury and the Mayoress of Cambridge

'Phil the Trolley' has arrived at its final destination of Salisbury, after touring 50 UK towns and cities.

The Trussell Trust campaign raised awareness of food poverty in the UK and made stops from Cornwall in the south to Edinburgh in the north.

The organisation runs a network of foodbanks through churches and says it has seen a massive 170% rise in the number of people asking for help in the last 12 months.

The network of more than 340 foodbanks has given emergency food to almost 350,000 people in the last year, compared to 128,697 in the period 2011-12.

The Trussell Trust is launching three new foodbanks a week to meet demand. There was a 76% increase in the numbers of foodbanks launched in the last year and a 170% growth in the numbers of people given three days' worth of emergency food.

The rising cost of living, static incomes, changes to health benefits, underemployment and unemployment have meant increasing numbers of people in the UK being hit with a personal financial crisis forcing them to go hungry.

This dramatic rise in demand for foodbanks predates last month's welfare reforms. The charity expects numbers to rise further in the coming year.

During the tour, foodbanks held creative 'trolley events' to engage local communities in understanding the reality of hunger in the UK.

"The trolley push is a timely reminder to politicians and the public that people right across the UK are in crisis. It is a reminder to politicians and the public that people right across the UK are in crisis." said Chris Mould.

As well as meeting hundreds of people around the country on the five-week tour, Phil the Trolley has been pushed by everyone from school children, to former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and the captain of Millwall FC Paul Robinson.

MP John Glen, nursery children, the charity's directors, and event sponsor Tesco were due to welcome the trolley team back to Salisbury, where the Trussell Trust has its headquarters.

"The support we have had from every local community during the course of the last five weeks has been inspiring," said Mould.

"There's still time to donate to the campaign, which will help address the rise in the number of people needing emergency food."

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