A financial inclusion project established by Cambridge City Foodbank and Cambridge & District Citizens Advice Bureau has unlocked more than £280,000 of funds for citizens in Cambridge facing food insecurity in its first eight months. The partnership provides Foodbank visitors with financial advice and support delivered by a Cambridge Citizens Advice advisor and forms a part of the Foodbank’s long-term strategy to end the need for Foodbanks in Cambridge.
Cambridge Citizens Advice, which offers advisors who are trained in providing individuals with assistance navigating the benefits system and access to other forms of financial aid, holds regular sessions in Foodbank welcome centres across Cambridge. To date, 217 people have been supported by the partnership, with 54 no longer needing the Foodbank, and a further six having their debt completely written off.
The project is funded for two years with grant funding from Trussell Trust.
Steve Clay, CEO of Cambridge City Foodbank, said: “I am so pleased with the progress of our partnership with Cambridge Citizens Advice. A lack of finances is at the heart of food insecurity and the complexity of the benefits system often prohibits people from accessing funds that they are legally entitled to. By having a guide through that system in the form of a Cambridge Citizens Advice advisor, many of our visitors are able to secure greater financial stability.
“The cost of living crisis has seen a dramatic increase in the level of need across our welcome centres. Month by month, we distribute more food than we receive in donations, which isn’t sustainable in the long-term. By building partnerships like the ones we have with Cambridge Citizens Advice, we can take a step towards combatting this issue and ending the need for foodbanks in Cambridge.”
Helen Jones, Deputy CEO at Cambridge and District Citizens Advice, said: “I am delighted with the partnership we are building with the team at Cambridge City Foodbank as this has enabled us to engage with local residents who are in most need of our support. Bringing our advice into local community spaces has broken down barriers to accessing our advice service and expertise.”
Our work in the foodbanks has helped their visitors to access local grants, seek assistance with their debts and claim welfare benefits they are entitled to but not currently accessing. We have been able to tackle the root causes of food poverty and the associated issues our clients face on a daily basis to help them find a way forward.”